Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Controlling Cnidoscolus texanus (Texas bullnettle)
July 18, 2013 - Hello,I need your help to control some nasty weeds in my yard/pasture. I am an old timer and do not have a picture to include—haven't figured out that part of the camera/phone yet. This weed is a pri...
view the full question and answer

Wild Edible Books for Pennsylvania
February 11, 2014 - I was hoping I could get some suggestions of one or more good books on wild edibles that I can find in Southwest PA. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent erosion on slope in Texas
June 19, 2010 - We have an erosion problem developing on the low side of a gently sloping hill. We are in clay soil at the base of the hill with oaks and pines. We have a right of way that is without trees forty fee...
view the full question and answer

Are wild sweet peas edible?
August 05, 2010 - Are wild sweet peas edible? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Recipe for Sideroxylon lanuginosum (Gum bumelia) fruits
August 17, 2014 - Do you have a recipe for using the fruits of Sideroxylon Lanuginosa?
view the full question and answer

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