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
2 ratings

Thursday - June 25, 2009

From: Fleetwood, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Botanical name for a kidney-shaped leaf
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr Smarty Plants, I love the site.. but I was searching for id on this odd plant I have.. I have lived here a few years now, and have seen them before, never seemingly to have a flower..but as I let it grow more "wild" the leaves have gotten quite big. it's a kidney- bean shaped leaf.. but the ends of each lobe may very well come around far enough to touch each other under the spot where the leaf begins.. and I don't know what the proper name for that shape is. I have found several charts with leaf types, but none that match mine. the closest I have found was a word that gave me heart shaped leaves, and this "heart" would have had to have it's point shaved off.. but I am just getting too much kidney bean food in my search results no matter how hard I try. Can you please tell me a more "proper" name for this shape of leaf so my searches can find me better results??? thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

The shape I think you are looking for is reniform (kidney-shaped) but I'm not sure whether or not the stem for your leaf is attached at same side as the one in the illustration.  The other possibility (if the stem is attached to the other side of the kidney bean) is obcordate.  The leaflets of Oxalis sp. are obcordate.  Here are some photos of Utricularia reniformis (a Brazilian carnivorous plant) with reniform leaves.  There is a tiny plant native to Pennsylvania, Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot), that has reniform leaves, too.  Here are more photos of D. carolinensis. There is also a larger plant with reniform leaves native to Pennsylvania, Asarum canadense (Canadian wildginger), that is a candidate for your plant.  It does have flowers but they are sometimes difficult to see since that grow down near the ground underneath the leaves.  Here are photos and a distribution map of A. canadense from the USDA Plants Database.

If wild ginger doesn't happen to be your plant, Mr. Smarty Plants loves to identify plants.  So, if you have, or can take, photos of your plants, you can send them to us and we will do our very best to identify them.  Please visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page for instructions on submitting photos.


Dichondra carolinensis

Asarum canadense

Asarum canadense

Asarum canadense

Asarum canadense

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant ID from Bloomsdale MO
August 19, 2010 - I have found a plant growing on the side of the road in a weedy area, looks like a poker flower, the plant has Red/orange seed pods growing to a point. no flowers right now. grows on a stem very much...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
August 29, 2011 - Hi- I am currently am AP Biology student and have two plants left to identify that I found at a lily pool in Chicago. Can you help me identify them? One I believe is a fern, the other a flower. Th...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 12, 2012 - I don't know if they are native or not, My mom bought some plants at an event at the Dallas Convention Center that all had rocks and little dirt that they sat on. The bases of the plants were large a...
view the full question and answer

What's invading my bermuda grass?
June 11, 2013 - Our grass is being totally overrun by this weed.(I don't know what the name is identify it by the description. It is in Bermuda grass and the only way to describe the weed is to say it looks like big...
view the full question and answer

Want to identify thorny vines growing in Charlotte Hall, MD
April 25, 2013 - I have vines with thorns growing in my wood, vining around the trees and killing them. It grows and vines go up trees of any height all the way to the top. It has green pointy leaves. If it doesn't...
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