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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - November 18, 2011

From: Elmendorf, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Plant Identification, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Difference between Styrax platanifolius and Styrax patanifolius ssp. texanus
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What is the difference between a Styrax platanifolius and a Styrax platanifolius texanus?

ANSWER:

The botanical description of Styrax platanifolius (Sycamoreleaf snowbell) and its four subspecies—Styrax platanifolius ssp. platanifolius (Sycamoreleaf snowbell), Styrax platanifolius ssp. stellatus (Hairy sycamore-leaf snow-bell), Styrax platanifolius ssp. texanus (Texas snow-bell) and Styrax platanifolius ssp. youngiae can be found in the online version of Flora of North America at eFloras.org

The major difference appears to be in the abaxial surface (i.e., underside) of the leaves of Styrax platanifolius ssp. platanifolius which are described thusly:

"...abaxial surface with white stellate-tomentose pubescence in addition to scattered, orange-brown or dark-brown, stalked stellate hairs on some leaves, surface completely covered and obscured by pubescence..."

("Stellate-tomentose" means covered with a soft, tangled mat of short star-shaped hairs.)

The adxial (upper) surface is described as being glabrous (without hairs).  Also, the leaf margins are described as "often weakly undulate."

The leaf pedicels are described as being white stellate-tomentose and the flower calyces are "thinly and evenly white stellate-tomentose, margins and teeth densely glandular..."

You can read more about the differences between Styrax platanifolius and its subspecies at the eFloras site.

If you click on Texas on the USDA Plants Database distribution map for each subspecies of Styrax platanifolius, you can see where it occurs in the state.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Sycamoreleaf snowbell
Styrax platanifolius

Sycamoreleaf snowbell
Styrax platanifolius ssp. platanifolius

Hairy sycamore-leaf snow-bell
Styrax platanifolius ssp. stellatus

Texas snow-bell
Styrax platanifolius ssp. texanus

More General Botany Questions

Can plants in the same genus cross-pollinate?
March 27, 2009 - Can you cross-pollinate plants from the same genus?
view the full question and answer

Pure white primroses (Oenothera speciosa)
May 13, 2008 - Hello MS. Smarty Plants! I have wildflowers instead of grass in my backyard (mow once a year and it's spectacularly beautiful) and I noticed some pure white primroses (the rest are all pink or wi...
view the full question and answer

Smog-eating plants from Ft. Worth TX
September 30, 2012 - Looking for a list (40 >) of Native Texas Plants for Fort Worth Urban (Condo) that are Drought tolerant or (drip irr) and Fragrant and long blooming and eat up the city smog. Fort Worth is in a non-at...
view the full question and answer

Project on natives in Connecticut from Chino CA
April 13, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My 10 yr. old daughter is doing a project on Ct., and would like to know what the most common plants, trees and flowers are found in this state. A few of each would be a great ...
view the full question and answer

More information on plants native to Taylor County TX
February 13, 2012 - Re: Thursday - September 15, 2011 QUESTION: Am looking for direction to a complete list of plants native to the Abilene, Taylor County, Texas area (trees, shrubs, grasses, cacti and other plants ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center