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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - February 07, 2013

From: Denham Springs, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Water Gardens, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Tree with stilt roots for Louisiana bog garden
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Does Louisiana have any native trees with stilt roots? I would like one to go with my cypress and tupelo bog garden. I have several native plants such as spider lilies and blue flag irises, but I'm still missing that one oddball plant to complete it. Do you have any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Avicennia germinans (Black mangrove) does have pneumatophores (stilt roots) and does occur as close to you as Jefferson Parish on Lake Ponchartrain.

Here is more information from the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Florida and an excellent Plant Guide for the species from the National Resources Conservation Services of the USDA.  Since it is a facultative halophyte (tolerates growing in saline water but will grow well in fresh water), you should be able to grow it in your bog garden.

Here are photos of the black mangrove from DiscoverLife.com and Seabean.com.

Another possibility (without stilt roots, however) is Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush).  It grows in boggy areas and is rather spectacular looking with its white flower balls and, later, reddish-brown fruits.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Common buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

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