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
2 ratings

Thursday - January 07, 2010

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: complete list of Central Texas edible plants
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

Hello! I have been searching for a complete list of Texas Hill Country Native Edibles (for humans) without much luck. Do you know of a good source? Thanks so much for your hard work! Steph

ANSWER:

So far, there is no single, comprehensive source focusing on the edible plants of only the Texas Hill Country. Those of us interested in this topic usually rely on Delena Tull's Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest and then figure out which plants occur in central Texas using sources like Correll and Johnston's Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas and the USDA Plants database, the latter of which allows you to determine what counties a species occurs in.

There is also a Texas archaeology website organized by region, called Texas Beyond History, that contains ethnobotany information. If you go to their page and click on "Plateaus and Canyonlands" and then on "Nature's Harvest", an array of plants known to have been used by the area's inhabitants will come up and you can then click on each plant to learn if it was eaten. I would recommend going through each region, since many of the species featured for other regions extend into central Texas.

You can also glean what you can about the topic from a couple of regional history books that touch on post-Columbian plant usage by indigenous peoples: The Native Americans of the Texas Edwards Plateau, 1582-1799 by Maria F. Wade and Spanish Expeditions into Texas 1689-1768 by William C. Foster. The latter in particular has a good appendix on possible identities of plants mentioned in historic records, with assistance from Scooter Cheatham and Lynn Marshall of the Useful Wild Plants of Texas volumes, another good source of information. You can also use Daniel Moerman's excellent, comprehensive Native American Ethnobotany, but that's continent-wide so you'd have to limit your focus to only regional plants.

For an earlier attempt we made at providing an introductory list of edible plants of central Texas, see this answer to a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question.

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Huckleberries and blueberries from Vancouver WA
April 14, 2013 - Can you plant a blueberry next to a huckleberry?
view the full question and answer

Native American barberry with edible fruit in New Mexico
December 06, 2008 - HI I am looking for a native american burberry plant with edible fruit. I love Persian cuisine, and they use the dried fruit of the burberry plant in a rice dish that I would like to recreate. I liv...
view the full question and answer

Citrus trees for Austin
May 21, 2008 - I am looking for citrus that grows in the Austin,Tx area. Could you offer any suggestions please?
view the full question and answer

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

Red berry that changes the taste of other foods
January 15, 2013 - Hi, your site is fantastic. I heard from a friend that he tried a red berry in Florida which when eaten change the taste of other foods eaten afterwards. He ate a lemon after trying that berry and th...
view the full question and answer

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