Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
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.

 


 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of three-petaled lilac colored flower in Texas
April 30, 2013 - I found a single bloom. It has three petals, lilac colored with white spots toward the center with purple dots. The stamens are a greenish color. Bloom has an iris appearance. Can't find it in my...
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

Identification of tall plant with five-petaled purple flowers
June 01, 2013 - I recently moved into a house and have a plant near my fence that has purple flowers with five petals and a somewhat thick stem, about a half inch. The leaves are sparse and it grows about four to si...
view the full question and answer

Orange and fuschia flowers on bushes in Maine
July 01, 2008 - I recently visited Portland,ME from end of May to the second week in June. many of the homes had these beautiful flowering bushes next to the houses. The flowers grew in clusters similar to hydrangeas...
view the full question and answer

Unknown blue flower growing in New Boston, TX
May 18, 2013 - A light blue wildflower, similar to a cosmos, appeared in one of my beds this spring. I've never grown this flower and would like to identify it. The flower also has similarities to a passion flower...
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.