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
1 rating

Wednesday - September 28, 2011

From: Pine Grove, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification, Seeds and Seeding
Title: Dill-like plant in veggie garden in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a plant that appeared in my veggie garden. Looks like dill in spring when green, but the leaves smell more like turpentine! Now, 4-5 foot tall, brown, it produces lots of small, oval - not crescent shaped-seeds that taste like caraway. Could this be edible, wild caraway?

ANSWER:

Here are photos and information about Carum carvi (wild caraway), a native of Asia, Europe and Africa.  The seeds as seen on the USDA Plants Database certainly don't look like the ones you describe.  However, your plant is likely another member of the Family Apiaceae (Carrot Family).  There are many, both native and non-native, and they can be difficult to tell apart. Here are a few possibilities with similar leaves:

There are a lot more possibilities.

Seeds (or rather the fruits) are one way to tell them apart.  Here are links to photos of Apiaceae seeds from USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

If none of the plants or seeds above, look like your plant, your best bet to figure out what you have is to take photos and then visit our Plant Identification page to find links to plant identification forums that accept photos for identification.  Photos of both the seeds and the plant would be most useful to someone trying to identify the plant.

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Sequence of Seeding Wildflowers and Grasses in Texas
July 24, 2016 - In the How To article on meadow gardening, it recommends that a good chunk of your garden (50%-80%) should be native grasses. The kind mentioned in that article are typically warm season grasses. In...
view the full question and answer

Germinating Milkweed Seeds
January 23, 2015 - When is the best time to plant milkweed seeds outside? I was told when the overnight temperature hits 70 F. (our garden is in Lakeway, Texas). So around late May? Is this when the seeds germinate i...
view the full question and answer

When to stop mowing Habiturf for seeding from Austin
November 14, 2012 - I planted a native Habiturf lawn in my back yard last spring/summer and it is doing very well. The how-to mentions allowing the turf to seed out once per year to help maintain the lawn. Is there a bes...
view the full question and answer

Failure to come up of blackeyed susans in Lancaster PA
June 28, 2009 - My blackeyed susans have been blooming for ten years. All of a sudden this year they didn't come up at all..why?
view the full question and answer

Seed planting of Crossvine from Orlando FL
September 12, 2011 - Seed planting of Bignonia capreolata - Tangerine Beauty. I have seed pods. Do I plant how deep and should I put in a plastic bag with a wet papertowel in the refrigerator and let it sprout? ...
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