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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Saturday - April 29, 2006

From: Keller, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Difference between vetch and woolly loco
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What is the difference between vetch and woolly loco?

ANSWER:

Both the vetches (Vicia spp.) and the plant known as woolly loco (Astragalus mollisimus) are members of the Family Fabaceae (Legume, or Bean, Family) and both are also members of the Subfamily Papilianoideae. They are member of different tribes, however—Viceae and Galegeae, respectively. The major difference between the tribes is that Tribe Viceae has tendrils instead of terminal leaflets (i.e., they are vine-like) and Tribe Galegeae are erect, non-twining plants. You can read the key for Subfamily Papilianoideae in Shinners and Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas. The entire book is also available in several downloadable PDF files on the internet.

 

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