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

Thursday - September 06, 2012

From: Beaumont, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Visual difference between Strophostyles umbellata and S. helvola
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I know that Strophostyles umbellata is perennial and S. helvola is an annual, but can you tell me how to visibly distinquish between S. umbellata and S. helvola.

ANSWER:

You are right that Strophostyles umbellata (Pink fuzzybean) is a perennial and Strophostyles helvola (Amberique-bean) is an annual.   Here are the differences that separate the two according to Correll and Johnston's Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas:

"Bracts at base of individual flowers blunt, half as long as the calyx tube or less; leaflets without conspicuous lobes at base, 3 to 8 times as long as wide.....S. umbellata.

Bracts at base of individual flowers acute, as long as the calyx tube or longer; leaflets lobed at base or (if not lobed) the leaflets 1 to 3 times as long as wide......S. helvola.

Here are more photos and information, including the botanical descriptions, from Missouri Plants for S. umbellata and S. helvola .  Note that the description on the Missouri Plants page for S. umbellata says that there are three species of Strophostyles [Strophostyles leiosperma (Slickseed fuzzybean), as well as S. umbellata and S. helvola] in Missouri and that the best way to distinguish between the three is by noting the differences in the bracts.

 

From the Image Gallery


Pink fuzzybean
Strophostyles umbellata

Pink fuzzybean
Strophostyles umbellata

Amberique-bean
Strophostyles helvola

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant Identification in Tennessee
September 02, 2008 - I live in upper East Tennessee and all my life I have seen a flowering bush we call a Bubbie (or Bubby). It grows to an average approximate height of 6 feet and blooms in the early summer. The blooms ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Parkinsonia aculeata
June 11, 2005 - What is the name of the tall shrub I see growing wild around Austin that is delicate, with thin stems and branches, and lacy, with multiple leaves, and yellow flowers? It looks lovely growing in a ma...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification in Michigan
May 26, 2010 - We are trying to identify a plant in our yard. It is seven inches tall in May, grows to about knee high, has red leaves, flowers in late June, early July. The flower is light pink. It is a perennia...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
December 15, 2008 - I am looking for the name of the plant that looks like the spider plant but can survive the cold weather of the northeast. It looks just like the indoor spider plant but it does not produce offshoots....
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 28, 2008 - Hello. There is a plant growing next to my 4 o'clocks that I didn't plant which is almost the same height as them, but has different leaves and it grows wider. It has these huge light green upside d...
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.

Bibliography

Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston

Search More Titles in Bibliography

E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center