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

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

Poison ivy in Hilliard OH?
June 15, 2009 - I found a plant with five jagged leaves growing close to the ground in the trees of Ohio. Is this poison ivy or a similar plant?
view the full question and answer

Identification of stem from a bouquet
January 02, 2012 - I have a stem with leaves that came in a bouquet May 2011. They are still healthy in a vase of water tho they have no roots, just stem. On the back center of each leaf are protrusions half an inch lon...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
April 04, 2010 - There is a wildflower growing in my pasture. It is low growing, triangle leaves, flowers are blue, five petals with what looks like a white flower in the middle. Gods blessings to all there.
view the full question and answer

Identity of cinnamon-scented bush from Pennsylvania
May 23, 2015 - I had a "bush" in PA that the woman who sold it to me called a cinnamon bush. It had long branches with large (approx 5" long and 3" wide) dark green leaves attached evenly along each side of the...
view the full question and answer

ID of odd woodland plant in PA?
July 20, 2009 - Found in the woods in Eastern Pennsylvania. It is about 8 inches tall and were found in clusters of 3 to 10. They are clear. with pink and black tops. Similar to a flower, but snaps like a fungus. ...
view the full question and answer

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

Bibliography

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

Search More Titles in Bibliography