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

Sunday - July 06, 2008

From: Uvalde, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification possibly red buckeye
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I encountered a shrub-like plant in the Edwards Plateu noth of Bracketville, and could use your help with identification. It's most distinguishing charactaristics are the seed pod, which has three chambers, each containing a single round black seed aprox. .8mm (small marble if you prefer). The seed resembles that of a mountain laurel in that it has a very hard exterior. The leaves were either central or deeply lobed, and of an odd number, usually five.

ANSWER:

This sounds like Aesculus pavia (red buckeye) or, possibly, Aesculus glabra var. arguta (Ohio buckeye). Both are members of the Family Hippocastanaceae (Horse-Chestnut Family). Here is another set of photos for A. pavia and another set for A. glabra var. arguta. The distribution in Texas is very similar for the two species.

Here are some of the differences between the two from Shinners' & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas, p. 738:

A. pavia has "Leaflets 5(-7)...leaflets to 17 cm long and 7 cm wide...fruits smooth...

A. glabra var. arguta (syn.=Aesculus arguta) has "Leaflets 7-11...leaflets to 12 cm long and 4 cm wide ...fruits spiny or rarely smooth...

Additionally, A. pavia generally has red flowers, but one variety, Aesculus pavia var. flavescens (red buckeye), has yellow flowers. A. glabra var. arguta has yellow or greenish flowers.

Please note that the raw seeds and early sprouts and leaves of all Aesculus species are poisonous.


Aesculus pavia

Aesculus pavia

Aesculus pavia

Aesculus pavia

Aesculus glabra var. arguta

Aesculus glabra var. arguta

Aesculus glabra var. arguta

Aesculus glabra var. arguta

 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
September 30, 2007 - We found this plant or something or other in our yard, in the area we found it usually stays wet and it was behind a old tree that was done. It has three big green leaves with a white stem that kind ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 29, 2008 - My parents have a plant growing that we can not identify. Fast growing to 6 ft in 6 weeks. theleaves look like a fern with little sweet pea looking yellow blooms. The plants leaves fold up at dusk tig...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification, possibly Actaea rubra, red baneberry
August 06, 2008 - I came across a plant that has leaves similar to the astillbe shrub, stands about 3 feet high, and instead of a flower spire, has a chunk of bright red berries the size of medium-sized pearls atop its...
view the full question and answer

Looking for rattlesnake flower
April 22, 2008 - I taught school for many years. The students and I identified wildflowers. I had one I call Rattlesnake Flower. It was small and had a little blue flower. On the leaves were little seed cases that...
view the full question and answer

Incomplete question from Austin TX
June 16, 2012 - If I asked this same question but in regards to Austin TX what would the answer be? My 2 plants have spent 2 winters indoors (they are huge now and never stop blooming), but am wondering about leaving...
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.

Bibliography

Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Texas (2003) Turner, B. L.; H. Nichols; G. Denny; O. Doron

Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F. Mahler; L. H. Shinners

Search More Titles in Bibliography

E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center