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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - October 27, 2011

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Identification of plant similar to Lindheimer's senna (Senna lindheimeriana)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I purchased "Lindheimer's Senna" at our MG plant sale in Williamson Co. two years ago. My three plants are now 6 ft. tall but I don't think they are Lindheimers. I've searched your plant files and can't find exactly what kind they are. The leaves are not velvety, but smooth and pointed rather than oval. The flower is the same. I have photos I can send as well. Thank you. BTW: I am a member.

ANSWER:

Thank you very much for supporting the Wildflower Center.

Here are a couple of possibilities for your plant:

1.  On page 694 of Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas you can read a description of Senna lindheimeriana (Lindheimer's senna) and Senna marilandica (Maryland senna) and see that they are very similar except that S. marilandica is described as having "essentially glabrous" (without hairs) leaves.

Here are more photos and information for S. lindheimeriana and more photos and information for S. marilandica.

2.  Another possibility is the non-native Senna occidentalis (coffee senna), from South America.  Here are more photos and information for S. occidentalis.  You can find more information from the US Forest Service.

If neither of these appears to be the plant you have, please visit our Plant Identification page where you will find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Lindheimer's senna
Senna lindheimeriana

Lindheimer's senna
Senna lindheimeriana

Maryland senna
Senna marilandica

Maryland senna
Senna marilandica

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