Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

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


Sycamore-leaf 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

Purple leatherflower with white bloom
July 17, 2014 - A couple of years ago at the wildflower center native plant sale I bought a purple leatherflower according to the tag. This is the first year it has bloomed and the blooms are pure white. The shape ma...
view the full question and answer

What is white sticky substance in the Mandevilla vine?
June 15, 2012 - When I was watering my Mandevilla one of the vines broke and there was a white, sticky substance that came out of the vine. I was just curious as to what that is.
view the full question and answer

Plant Groups
September 22, 2009 - What are ways to group plants?
view the full question and answer

Yellowing of palm tree leaves
May 14, 2008 - I want to know about palm trees. The leaves are turning yellow.
view the full question and answer

What to do about grass dying under pin oaks in Iowa
December 10, 2008 - We have 2 pin oaks about 15 years old in our front yard. The grass has started dying out under and around them. What can we do?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.