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 Plant Identification Questions

Plant with red berries that grows near the Warner River
August 04, 2008 - We live next to a river, the Warner River, and every year these plants with red berries appear next to the river. we have search for name to no avail: the leaf is unique with one large spade shaped ...
view the full question and answer

Bulb identification
December 10, 2009 - My pinecone ginger (Zingiber zerumbet), my white ginger (Hedychium coronarium) and my cana lilly roots were all accidently put in the same box and now I can't tell which is which. Is there some sort ...
view the full question and answer

Identiication of a flower in Valentine's Day Bouquet
March 05, 2015 - I bought a Valentine's Day bouquet for my wife and one of the flowers just won't quit (with some TLC, the lillies lasted 10 days). May I send a photo of the flower in question? I'd love to grow i...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a Kerry bush on Cape Cod
May 20, 2010 - I think the "bush" is called a Kerry bush - grows wild on Cape Cod - has little yellow "rose-like" flowers. - Is this the correct name and how can I make it thrive in New Hampshire?
view the full question and answer

Identification of small plant with white flowers in Baltimore, MD
June 21, 2012 - It's a small plant, has flowers in June, four white petals with large, tall conical center, about no more than an inch in diameter. The leaves are alternating with branched veins. It stays at about 6...
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