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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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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!

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Wednesday - March 14, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Invasive common giant mustard
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have been seeing a lot of a small shrubby plants with yellow flowers all over Austin, mainly along roadsides. Back in my day the first wildflowers of Spring were the paintbrushes and the bluebonnets. Who are these newcomers?

ANSWER:

The plant that you are seeing is Rapistrum rugosum commonly also known as bastard cabbage or, to the more sensitive, as turnip weed or common giant mustard. It is in the mustard family and is considered an invasive weed in Texas. Its seeds germinate early in the growing season in late fall and early winter, and the flowers appear from early spring to summer.

Click here to learn more about this invader, and see texasinvasives.org for information about other invasive plant species.

 

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