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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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Saturday - May 04, 2013

From: Clarksville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Plant Identification from Clarksville TN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live on a north facing wooded ridge line in Middle TN. I have a single large (6') bush that is blooming now (late April) with beautiful 6" long, end of stem clusters of small pink flowers in 3-5 bud clusters branching off of the stem. The flowers are delicate, four petal, 1/2 -3/4" long that extends out of a 1/2 " vase-shaped pod. The leaves are finely toothed, whorled, 5-leaf elongated, pointy tipped with perfectly parallel veins. I can send a picture if you give me a cell phone #. I have looked at several on-line ID keys and have come up dry. Please help. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Sadly, we are no longer able to accept pictures for plant identification. Please see our page on Plant Identification for some other resources that might be able to help you, including identification from pictures.

However, we did want to at least try, so we went to our Native Plant Database and, using the Combination Search, looked for shrubs native to Tennessee that bloomed in April and have pink blooms. We only found two that we thought came close. It is very possible that the plant is a non-native. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native to North America but also to the areas in which they have evolved; in your case, Montgomery County, Tennessee. If it is, indeed, a non-native, it would be out of our range of expertise.

Here are the two we found:

Rhododendron calendulaceum (Flame azalea)

Rhododendron periclymenoides (Pink azalea)

 

From the Image Gallery


Mountain azalea
Rhododendron canescens

Pink azalea
Rhododendron periclymenoides

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