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?


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
2 ratings

Thursday - March 26, 2009

From: Ignacio, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives, Edible Plants
Title: Edible plants beginning with I, T, X and Z in Colorado
Answered by: Barbara Medford


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.


We guess you might not want to tell us why the names of the plants need to start with I, T, X and Z? We get a lot of repetitious questions, but we're fairly certain that this one is unique.

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown.  Most fruits and vegetables, although not all, are either non-native to North America or have been so extensively hybridized that they are no longer recognizable as native. They would therefore not appear in our Native Plant Database and would be out of our area of expertise. Another complication is that we ordinarily refer to all plants by their Latin or scientific names, to avoid confusion, and we don't know whether your friend is thinking of common names, like "carrot"  which is a domesticated form of Daucus carot, the Latin name of a wild carrot native to Europe and Southwestern Asia. So, we don't know if that's a "d" or a "c" word, it isn't on your list of letters, and not native to North America (or Colorado), anyway. 

Just for fun, we are going to do a search in our Recommended Species, click on Colorado on the map, and scan the listed plants (which are listed alphabetically by Latin name in our database) for anything  that might be edible, could be grown in Colorado and starts with one of the specified letters. There were 110 species listed as recommended for Colorado, but not a single one began with "I", "T, nor "X". Zinnia grandiflora (Rocky Mountain zinnia) was listed but I don't believe that could be regarded as edible, except maybe to an aphid. 

Still game, we tried Googling "edible plants of Colorado," but they were listed by common names and not alphabetically, but you might try that to see if you could locate something. And we really would like to know the reason for the choice of letters.


More Edible Plants Questions

Planting fruit and nut trees in Mason County, TX
March 02, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have 36 acres 15 miles west of the city of Mason TX. I wish to plant one acre plots of sustainable organic crops that are long term and hardy. (cost and effort not an iss...
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

Fruit trees for West Virginia
March 13, 2010 - What kinds of fruit trees would grow best in West Virginia? I assume apple trees would, but what kind of apple tree and are there any others that would grow well?
view the full question and answer

White spots on Hibiscus leaves
August 06, 2008 - My hibiscus trees have white spots or splotches on the leaves. What is it and what can I do to get rid of it? Also, the birds are eating my tomatoes faster than i can grow them. I've used the owl &...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant that looks like green onions
April 06, 2013 - I have what looks like green onions growing in my lawn. They have small white flowers. Are they edible?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center