Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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 - November 18, 2011

From: Elmendorf, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Plant Identification, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Difference between Styrax platanifolius and Styrax patanifolius ssp. texanus
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What is the difference between a Styrax platanifolius and a Styrax platanifolius texanus?

ANSWER:

The botanical description of Styrax platanifolius (Sycamoreleaf snowbell) and its four subspecies—Styrax platanifolius ssp. platanifolius (Sycamoreleaf snowbell), Styrax platanifolius ssp. stellatus (Hairy sycamore-leaf snow-bell), Styrax platanifolius ssp. texanus (Texas snow-bell) and Styrax platanifolius ssp. youngiae can be found in the online version of Flora of North America at eFloras.org

The major difference appears to be in the abaxial surface (i.e., underside) of the leaves of Styrax platanifolius ssp. platanifolius which are described thusly:

"...abaxial surface with white stellate-tomentose pubescence in addition to scattered, orange-brown or dark-brown, stalked stellate hairs on some leaves, surface completely covered and obscured by pubescence..."

("Stellate-tomentose" means covered with a soft, tangled mat of short star-shaped hairs.)

The adxial (upper) surface is described as being glabrous (without hairs).  Also, the leaf margins are described as "often weakly undulate."

The leaf pedicels are described as being white stellate-tomentose and the flower calyces are "thinly and evenly white stellate-tomentose, margins and teeth densely glandular..."

You can read more about the differences between Styrax platanifolius and its subspecies at the eFloras site.

If you click on Texas on the USDA Plants Database distribution map for each subspecies of Styrax platanifolius, you can see where it occurs in the state.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Sycamore-leaf snowbell
Styrax platanifolius

Sycamoreleaf snowbell
Styrax platanifolius ssp. platanifolius

Sycamoreleaf snowbell
Styrax platanifolius ssp. stellatus

Texas snowbell
Styrax platanifolius ssp. texanus

More Trees Questions

Soapberry tree problems in North Richland Hills, TX
September 01, 2010 - We have a small grove of soapberry trees. The city recently reconstructed the street and added a side walk which now sets as close at 1 foot from the nearest tree. Everything seemed fine until they ...
view the full question and answer

When is the best time to trim oak trees in Driftwood TX?
September 09, 2010 - When is the best time to trim oak trees?
view the full question and answer

Skin allergies; is Juniper the culprit in Simi Valley, CA?
July 21, 2012 - My husband and I have had terrible skin allergy problems this spring (for me it's been 3 years) and think it may be the juniper bushes outside our bedroom and kitchen windows. Is there a fast growin...
view the full question and answer

large tree suited for limestone site in Austin, TX
January 15, 2015 - I have a dying Chinaberry tree [35 ' tall; WNW corner of lot; at least 25 years old] that I am having removed. What native / adapted tree would you recommend to fill that void. I do understand that...
view the full question and answer

Problems with transplanted Texas Madrones from Junction TX
May 13, 2014 - We planted 3 little Texas madrones last year 9 - 12 inches high. 2 of them seem to have some kind of black blight along the edges of the leaves that I don't think was the result of our late freezes. ...
view the full question and answer

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