En EspaŅol

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 21, 2014

From: Tomslake, BC
Region: Canada
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification, Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Title: Non-native astilbe resemblance to non-native poisonous castor bean from Tomslake BC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a plant that looks like a castor bean but it has flowers like a Younique Silvery Pink Astilbe. Need to id because castor bean is poisonous. This plant grows up to 5 feet in height. Thank you !

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America, but also to the place in which they are being grown; in your case, Central British Columbia, just west of the Alberta border. The castor bean is native to Africa. There is one member of the genus Astilbe native to North America, Astilbe biternata (Appalachian false goat's beard). If you follow that plant link to our webpage on that plant you will see that it is native to southeastern states in the United States. Younique Silvery Pink Astilbe, according to this article from Perennial Resources, was hybridized in Holland by Dutch gardener Jan Verschoor. This places both plants out of our realm of expertise.

From Google are pictures of Astilbe biternata (Appalachian false goat's beard) and of castor bean.

Since we have neither personal experience nor native plant information on these plants, we can only express an opinion. Our opinion is that the leaves of the hybrid Astilbe and the castor are entirely unlike, and there is only very little resemblance between the blooms of the two plants. It will be up to you and perhaps a local horticulture expert to figure out which (or what) you have in your garden.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Appalachian false goat's beard
Astilbe biternata

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Identification of plant with orange sap that glows at night
June 06, 2012 - I was just pulling up a plant and noticed that its sap was a kind of orange then I noticed it glowing orange at night. What kind of plant is this and is it dangerous?
view the full question and answer

Plant with dark black/purple berries in a cluster
November 06, 2012 - Today at our local dog park we noticed a bush/vine that's been growing up the fence is producing berries. It didn't flower at all. The berries look to have started out green and now are changing t...
view the full question and answer

Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
November 12, 2012 - Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing, Horse-safe Pasture Tree for Okeechobee, FL
July 05, 2012 - I'm looking for a fast growing tree to plant in pasture that's safe for horses.
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Eve's necklacepod in Austin
April 04, 2011 - I have a young Eve's necklace that never blooms in the spring. I wonder every spring if this will be the year, but the blooms never come. Is there a reason for this? The tree is about three or fou...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center