Contact Us Host an Event 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
1 rating

Thursday - August 06, 2009

From: Burleson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Are kidney wood and beebrush related from Burleson TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a kidneywood tree from a nursery. I also have a Beebrush plant. My reference on Beebrush designates it as kidneywood. My two plants look similar but somewhat different. I am confused. Are they cousins?

ANSWER:

Ah, the Curse of the Common Name strikes again. Common names can be the same for two or three totally unrelated plants, or the same plant may have two or three common names. That is why we try to refer to everything by its scientific name, and our Native Plant Database is arranged by scientific name; however, you can also search on a common name, which is what we did.

First, Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood), member of the Fabaceae (pea) family. Its common names are Texas kidneywood, kidneywood and bee-brush, along with probably others.

Aloysia gratissima (whitebrush), member of the Verbenaceae (verbena) family. Common names bee-brush, beebrush, common bee-brush, privet lippia, white-brush, whitebrush. 

Now you understand why botanists get glassy-eyed sometimes. You can follow the above plant links to the webpage on each individual plant to learn their differences, and we will give you some pictures from our Native Plant Database Image Gallery. Neither plant is native to the Johnson County area, but rather to Central Texas, South Texas and the Big Bend Area.


Eysenhardtia texana

Eysenhardtia texana

Eysenhardtia texana

Eysenhardtia texana

Aloysia gratissima

Aloysia gratissima

Aloysia gratissima

Aloysia gratissima

 


 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Is Goldenball leadtree really evergreen, as we state?
January 17, 2016 - Please would you confirm that Goldenball leadtree Leucaena retusa is evergreen as stated on this website and not deciduous as stated by Wasowski in Native Texas Plants? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Difference between Styrax platanifolius and Styrax patanifolius ssp. texanus
November 18, 2011 - What is the difference between a Styrax platanifolius and a Styrax platanifolius texanus?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
March 09, 2009 - green stemmed,whorled leaf,compound leaf, ovate shaped, hairy stemmed thing is fastly taking over my sandy rocked based soil cactus garden. what could it be? i bought my garden in florida
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of vine with fluffy-seeded pod
July 05, 2013 - I saw a fluffy seeded pod on our hike this morning. I have seen this vine before, but do not know the proper and scientific name of it. Its leaves appear to be opposite and heart shaped. Could it be a...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant that looks like green onions
April 06, 2013 - I have what looks like green onions growing in my lawn. They have small white flowers. Are they edible?
view the full question and answer

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