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?


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
4 ratings

Monday - February 20, 2006

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Medicinal Plants, Shrubs
Title: Use of cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) for tea
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Back in the 50's when I spent the summers with my grandmother south of Hondo, Texas, she use to pick leaves from the cenizo (purple sage) bushes, dry them and then brew them for tea. I asked one of my aunts about it and she can not remember that. Can you use the cenizo (purple sage) leaves as a tea? I know I use to drink the tea. Please let me know.


Yes, the leaves of Cenizo, or purple sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) can be used for making tea. Christina Mild in Rio Delta Wild, an extensive article about cenizo, describes the use of tea made from its leaves for medicinal purposes in treating congestion, coughing, chilis and fever of the common cold. Also, the ethnobotanist, Benito Trevino, (in an interview by the Texas Legacy Project sponsored by the Conservation History Association of Texas) talks about using cenizo tea with sugar or honey added to treat symptoms of a cold. He also talks about the use of many other plants of the Texas Rio Grande Valley.


More Medicinal Plants Questions

Growing fruits and vegetables from Holbrook NY
April 06, 2012 - I have been looking for information on what plants, vegetables and fruits can be grown on Long Island NY to provide a sustainable food source for a community in the event of food becoming scarce. Wha...
view the full question and answer

Medicinal plants used on Hispanic ranches
November 25, 2008 - Have you ever heard of a plant, possibly native to Texas or Mexico, called Drago? Or another called Greta? In a book on South Texas ranches after 1850, these are listed as the Spanish names for two ...
view the full question and answer

Are Viguiera dentate leaves toxic to dogs?
November 26, 2014 - Many dogs on the Turkey Creek Nature Trail in Emma Long Metropolitan Park love to snack on the leaves of the Viguiera Dentata plants. The leaves SEEM to be harmless. I am writing to request informat...
view the full question and answer

Availability of ruda plants (Ruta graveolens) in Alabama
September 10, 2008 - I want to know is ruda plants available in alabama? If so where can I find it.
view the full question and answer

Lippia alba for sale at Wildflower Center
June 09, 2013 - Do you have this plant for sale Lippia Alba. thanks
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center