En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - August 06, 2009

From: Burleson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Are kidney wood and beebrush related from Burleson TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a kidneywood tree from a nursery. I also have a Beebrush plant. My reference on Beebrush designates it as kidneywood. My two plants look similar but somewhat different. I am confused. Are they cousins?

ANSWER:

Ah, the Curse of the Common Name strikes again. Common names can be the same for two or three totally unrelated plants, or the same plant may have two or three common names. That is why we try to refer to everything by its scientific name, and our Native Plant Database is arranged by scientific name; however, you can also search on a common name, which is what we did.

First, Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood), member of the Fabaceae (pea) family. Its common names are Texas kidneywood, kidneywood and bee-brush, along with probably others.

Aloysia gratissima (whitebrush), member of the Verbenaceae (verbena) family. Common names bee-brush, beebrush, common bee-brush, privet lippia, white-brush, whitebrush. 

Now you understand why botanists get glassy-eyed sometimes. You can follow the above plant links to the webpage on each individual plant to learn their differences, and we will give you some pictures from our Native Plant Database Image Gallery. Neither plant is native to the Johnson County area, but rather to Central Texas, South Texas and the Big Bend Area.


Eysenhardtia texana

Eysenhardtia texana

Eysenhardtia texana

Eysenhardtia texana

Aloysia gratissima

Aloysia gratissima

Aloysia gratissima

Aloysia gratissima

 


 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of spiky red berry in Connecticut
September 25, 2011 - I found an odd berry outside of my school, none of the science teachers know what it is though. It kind of looks like a spiked cherry. It has spikes on the outside, a pit on the insde, and has pinkish...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a plant in SE Georgia
May 06, 2009 - Identity of a plant- This plant is growing wild in SE GA, but I have never seen it before until this year. The plant has a stolon "root" system it forms an upright stem and a cluster of flowers begi...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub with red berries in Kentucky
January 14, 2012 - I live in Laurel CO, KY. I am trying to identify a shrub/tree. The leaves are green and may turn reddish orange. There are huge pods of red berries hanging.
view the full question and answer

Identification of lily in Florida Savannas Preserve State Park
December 19, 2013 - I found a lily blooming in the Savannas Preserve State Park in Martin County Florida. It is similar to a Michaux lily but doesn't have apparent spots. The foliage is also different from photos I ha...
view the full question and answer

Seeds of Castilleja purpurea
April 12, 2012 - The seed photo for Castilleja purpurea is incorrect; seeds are black and poppyseed size.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center