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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - May 28, 2010

From: Nederland , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: How to distinguish Malvaviscus arboreus from M. a. var. drummondii?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a Turk's Cap plant. How do I tell if it is Malvaviscus arboreus or Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii?

ANSWER:

The short answer is if you didn't go to Mexico or Central or South America to get your plant, it's almost certainly Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii, our native variety.  The type variety, M. a. var. arboreus is native from Mexico to Brazil and the West Indies.  If it's a possibility that your plant came from somewhere south of the US border then the simplest distinguishing characteristic is overal leaf shape.  Though leaf morphology is quite variable for both varieties, in general, the leaves of our native variety are about as broad (or broader) as they are long.  The leaves of Malvaviscus arboreus var. arboreus are generally narrower in width than in length.  There are other, more technical differences, but these are the simplest to use.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

How to distinguish white-flowered Baptisias?
June 07, 2010 - How can I tell the difference between Baptisia alba and Baptisia alba var. macrophylla
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 25, 2012 - I have a plant that was in a funeral arrangement. The plant has green leaves with darker green spots on it. I do not know what kind of plant it is, nor do I know how much light the plant needs on a ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 06, 2014 - I have a plant my kids got me, but I cant figure out what it is. It has long thick waxy leaves and instead of flowers the leaves at the top turn white. Do you know what it is?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from photos
April 11, 2008 - I have 3 photos of the same plant, and no one knows what it is. Can I send you the photos, they are small jpegs, for identification? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Richardson TX
May 24, 2014 - Need to send a pic for id.
view the full question and answer

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