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 Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification, possibly Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed)
August 20, 2010 - I have a patch of plants I can't find what they are, could you help? The plant is a tuber (resembles a carrot when it is small), the stalk is red and fibrous, comes back each year bigger, has green ...
view the full question and answer

Iris brevicaulis in Southwest Michigan
April 22, 2007 - We live in Kalamazoo, MI (Southwest Michigan Zone 6) and discovered last year that we have an iris brevicaulis (we think) growing (and very pretty) on our property. It has the "zig zag" stem. It see...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 16, 2010 - No pictures only memory. It looks like a dried flower and grows with other wildflowers along roadside. It is mostly purple or blue purple and sometimes called statis. Stems favor dandelions, only t...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plants emerging from "wildflower mix" of seeds
January 02, 2007 - I planted a "wildflower mix" a couple months ago, and now I have a bunch of plants growing that I'm not sure what they are. Some of them are starting to make buds, and I've been looking on the in...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 06, 2010 - My neighbor has a few trees in his pasture that his horses love to eat the fruit off of. The fruit looks like a lemon but smaller and has lots of seeds inside of it. The trees have very long thorns on...
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