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 Non-Natives Questions

New plant introductions in Georgia.
October 15, 2009 - Can you list 5-10 brand new plants to the marketplace this 2009-2010 season for my area in GA? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of bamboo-like plant in California
January 10, 2014 - We just bought a house in Cambria, CA. The plant I'd like to ID grows like bamboo -- spreading fibrous stalks abt 6' high with beautiful orange blossoms that protrude out the top of the stalk. The...
view the full question and answer

Lilac bush roots dangerous to house foundations
August 06, 2008 - Are lilac bushes dangerous to the foundation of a house? There is a lovely white-blooming lilac that grows against the house outside my bedroom window. My ex-husband said that the roots would destro...
view the full question and answer

Trimming non-native plants
November 21, 2009 - What time of year is best to trim my Alamanda cathartica, and also my Plumbago auriculata? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Baby in a manger plant from Rock Hill SC
June 28, 2010 - I'm looking for the correct name for baby in a manger(It's a plant.)
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center