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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 25, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Differentiation between Amorpha roemeriana and A. fruticosa
Answered by: Nan Hampton


How do I differentiate Amorpha roemeriana and A. fruticosa? Thank you.


The description in the key in Correll & Johnston Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas, 1970, p. 817, for False indigo (Amorpha fruticosa) says:

"Leaflets 8-18 (-22) mm. wide; calyx glabrous to variously pubescent. Leaves distinctly petiolate, the petioles 10 mm. long or more. Stalk of the leaflet inconspicuously glandular, if at all; calyx indistinctly glandular; flowering racemes 10-15 ( -20) cm. long."

The description for Roemer's indigo (Amorpha roemeriana) [called in Correll & Johnston by its synonym and former name, Amorpha texana] says:

"Leaflets (15- ) 20-30 mm. wide; calyx uniformly pubescent. Leaflets inconspicuously veined beneath; spikes of inflorescence 10-20 cm. long."

We have a botanical glossary to help with terms that may be confusing.

According to Shinners and Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas A. fruticosa is widespread throughout Texas. The range as shown in "Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Texas" Vol. 1 (B. L. turner et al., 2003, Botanical Research Institute of Texas) A. roemeriana has a very small range in Central Texas from Mason, Burnet and Travis Counties in the north to Uvalde and Real in the southwest. There is a small overlap to their ranges.

There are more detailed descriptions of both plants in Correll & Johnston, copies of which can be found at the Faulk Central Library in Austin and in the Life Science Library at the University of Texas.


More Plant Identification Questions

Difference between Convallaria majalis and Convallaria majuscula
May 17, 2012 - How do you tell the difference in the native convallaria from the European species?
view the full question and answer

Plant ID of unknown purchased plant from Boise ID
June 24, 2012 - Hi! I bought a tree that the sales person didnt know what it was. I thought it was a cherry tree and now after about 3-4 yrs I know it is but..How do I know if it is an ornamental tree or real fruit t...
view the full question and answer

Identification of rose campion
August 04, 2007 - My friend shared a plant with me and I cannot identify it. She said that it was Rose Campriow? or something like this. It has very small pink/purplish blooms with grey green foliage. It is a perenn...
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

Seed pod of Proboscidea louisianica (Deveil's claw) in New Mexico
August 30, 2014 - I found the most amazing seed pods of the devil's claw right here in Albuquerque. I thought it was a wood skeleton of a pterodactyl (flying dinosaur, I believe), but heard it's a devil's claw. Ok...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center