En Español

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
6 ratings

Sunday - January 25, 2009

From: Buckeye, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Are yellow bells (Tecoma stans) edible?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can you tell me if any part of the yellow bell can be eaten and if so what part. Also is it useful in making natural paints?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants assumes you mean Tecoma stans (yellow bells or yellow trumpetbush) and not Fritillaria pudica (yellow missionbells) or the South African native, Bauhinia tomentosa (yellow bell orchid tree).

I could find no reference that any part of Tecoma stans is edible.  It is not listed in Delena Tull's Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest nor in Peterson's Field Guide to Edible Plants:  Eastern and Central North America and I could find no entry for it in the Native American Ethnobotany database. Nor could I find any indication in my favorite poisonous plant databases (Poisonous Plants of North Carolina, Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System, Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock or other Animals or Texas Toxic Plant Database) that it is toxic.

Although not considered a food item, the plant, according to information from the US Forest Service, has been used in traditional folk medicine to treat various conditions and has been reported to lessen the symptoms of diabetes mellitus in mice, rats, and dogs.  It is listed on the Western Herbal Medicine website as a treatment for gastrointestinal problems as well as for yeast (Candida albicans) infections.  The Southwest School of Botanical Medical webpage reports on studies for the use of an infusion T. stans in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. You can read a list of the constituents of the plant on their webpage.


Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

Tecoma stans

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Plant identification
August 04, 2012 - We found a bush on our ranch in southern Gonzales County. It has oval shaped leaves about an inch long. There are no thorns on the branches. Fruit is round and smooth, the size of a small cherry to...
view the full question and answer

Information on edible tubers of hog potato from Austin
November 10, 2011 - I inquired a while back about hog potato or Hoffmannseggia glauca. You gave me some information on the plant but no information on when the plant produces the edible tubers. Also how long does it take...
view the full question and answer

Edible plants beginning with I, T, X and Z in Colorado
March 26, 2009 - My friend would like to know a fruit or vegetable that he would plant in his garden and come back yearly. The plants would have to start with the letters I,T,X, & Z. It has to be edible, of course.
view the full question and answer

Water requirements for fruit trees in California
January 15, 2013 - Dear Sir; In which of these options (fruit trees) the need for watering in irrigation process is higher than the others: -Olive tree -Nectarines and peaches trees -Hazelnut trees -Pistachios and ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a plant with bumpy red fruit
April 26, 2011 - I have a bush with red berry like pods on it. They are about 3/4 of an inch bumpy round with a big seed inside. The leaves are smooth and oval shape. Please let me know if it is poisonous or not, and...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center