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
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

Plant identification from Tamaqua PA
August 08, 2010 - I live in PA, have a plant growing in my geranium planter, was told it was a moonflower, but it is not a vine. The flower is a white trumpet, six star, with purple in the middle. leaves look like ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
April 25, 2009 - What is: square stalk perennial with bright yellow flowers at the top (mainly)? Starts growing first thing in spring, invades surrounding areas, puts out long serrated leaves along the 7-8 ft stalks....
view the full question and answer

Identity of mint impersonator in California
May 20, 2012 - Is there such a thing as a mint "impersonator"? There are random 'sprigs' of purple-stemmed, bright green leaf plants in my front yard. We just moved in to the house and I don't want to assume ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 24, 2008 - I found a flower about 5 inches tall and it is Pinkish White the head of it hangs down and looks like a rose that hasn't bloomed yet. It reminds me of an Orchid like Fairy . Its Mystic like! what is ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Beetleweed or Galax as
February 28, 2006 - My mother will soon celebrate her 100th birthday. For her 1st birthday her mother decorated her highchair with "smilox". I am trying to find out what plant this is. I have found "smilax" but it is...
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