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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Sunday - October 17, 2010

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Is the fruit on Texas olive (Cordia boissieri) edible?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I planted Cordia boissieri (Texas olive) in my garden and its thriving. Now I'm getting fruit from the tree; they are grape-sized waxy and soft. Is this fruit edible (by humans)? Should it be handled like Olive Olea europaea and fermentated or cured with lye or brine to make it more palatable?

ANSWER:

For the edibility of Cordia boissieri (Mexican olive)—maybe yes, maybe no.  You aren't the first person to question Mr. Smarty Plants about this plant.  You can find the questions previously asked and their answers at this link and another link.

Here are some links to different opinions about the edibility of the Mexican olive:

Master Gardeners of the University of Arizona Pima Cooperative Extension

University of Florida IFAS Extension

Texas AgriLife Research and Extension at Uvalde

Texas Beyond History from the University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts

 

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