Could these be the same plant?

Oconee bellsGalaxThese two groups of plants look like they might be the same plant — even though the leaves are red-tinged in the top photo and green in the bottom photo.  Let’s look at the plants with some photos taken a bit closer.

Oconee bellsGalaxWell, the leaves have the same overall shape and both sets of leaves are glossy.  So what’s different about them?

GalaxOconee bellsHhmmm . . .  The margins look about the same.  But something‘s different.  Maybe the venation pattern?


Oconee bellsThat’s it!  The leaves with the palmate venation are Galax (Galax urceolata).  The leaves with the pinnate venation are Oconee bells (Shortia galacifolia).

By the way, both plants have red-tinged leaves during the cold winter season and green leaves during the hot summer season.

Now that you know the difference between Galax and Oconee bells, look at the comparison side-by-side in this last image.  Decide which plant is which.  Then go back through the photos above and see if you can correctly identify each plant.  To check your answers, click on each image and read the title above the enlarged photo.

Galax and Oconee bells

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