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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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Friday - July 19, 2013

From: Kirbyville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My nephew bought an old farmhouse in Southeast Texas. There is a plant there that has glossy leaves similar to a lemon leaf. I cannot tell from the pic if it is a shrub or a vine. It is blooming now, and has ball shaped flowers that have "bottle brush type petals that are reddish in color. They fall off and leave a yellow-green ball. Obviously it is a perennial since it has been there a long time.

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise are with plants native to North America and your nephew's plant is probably an introduced cultivated escapee and not a North American native.  I did a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database to look for it, selecting "Texas" in the Select State or Province slot and "All habits" in Habit (general appearance) and "Red" under Bloom Color and scanned through the thumbnail photos looking for a plant that has flowers like the ones you describe.   I didn't see any, but I may have misinterpreted what you said about the flower; so it would be a good idea for you to try this search yourself.

If you don't find it, since you have a photo your best bet for identifying it is to visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.  Before you submit the photo, however, it would be a good idea to find out from your nephew whether the plant is a shrub or a vine.   That will be very important in helping to identify the plant.

Best of luck!

 

 

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