En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - March 25, 2007

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Edibility of Rumex hastatulus (heartwing sorrel)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My mother and aunt, who are in their 80s, tell stories of eating a plant, when they were girls in North Central Texas. They call the plant "sheep shire". My mother says that it is a flat weed, that tastes like a sour pickle. What is it?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants remembers, as a child in East Texas, chewing on the stem of a plant that we called "sourweed" and thinks that plant is Rumex hastatulus (heartwing sorrel).

Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest says, "Rumex hastatulus and R. acetosella, both commonly called sheep sorrel, have a pickle-sour flavor similar to that of Oxalis."

Another possibility for this plant, of course, is Oxalis drummondii (Drummond's woodsorrel). Woodsorrel leaves and flowers are often added to salads or as flavoring in cooked greens.

Oxalic acid is the compound in both Oxalis and Rumex that causes the sour flavor. In small portions it is harmless but large amounts can be toxic. Rumex spp. and Oxalis spp. can be toxic, but only if large quantities are consumed. Also, Rumex spp. can be toxic to livestock in large quantities.


Rumex hastatulus

Oxalis drummondii

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

What is a groundnut? from River Vale NJ
July 11, 2009 - I just read the book "Mayflower" which talks about the Massachusetts natives and, subsequently, the Pilgrims eating groundnuts; mentions the groundnuts going to seed in early summer. What are ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a plant in Florida with red fruit like a small tomato
September 03, 2012 - It looks like a small tomato but it isn't. It has a bunch of flakey seeds on the inside, which are a light brown in color. The outside is red, and I think it starts out growing green and also white....
view the full question and answer

Is 'Hot Lips' salvia edible from Richmond TX
June 23, 2010 - Mr Smarty Plants, I recently planted "Hot Lips" a form of Salvia Sage in my yard in Richmond Texas (just southwest of Houston). The leaves and flowers smell so great I would like to know if either ...
view the full question and answer

Edible Native Plants for a Small Austin Garden
March 15, 2010 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants (or Mrs. or Miss, whomever is answering this go'round)! First off, thank you so much for all the help you have given me in the past. Secondly, the company my husband works ...
view the full question and answer

Edibility of peppervine berries from Madison MS
February 09, 2012 - I am following up on a question I've posed to many well experienced foragers and naturalists regarding the pepper vine plant or Ampelopsis arbor. There are many conflicting stories regarding the edib...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center