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?

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
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
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 Plant Identification Questions

Native North American bulbs
August 19, 2011 - I saw your list of 4 lilies native to the Northeastern United States, which was very helpful. What other bulbs are native to North America? Although I garden in Connecticut, I am interested in learn...
view the full question and answer

Does goldenball leadtree (Leucaena retusa) have thorns?
July 26, 2010 - I have a plant that I am told is a native Texas plant, but the person I got it from could not remember its name. They said it was very hardy and drought tolerant. It looks a little like goldenball lea...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification for Beeville, TX
May 14, 2011 - Today in Beeville, TX I came across a plant that looks like a grass, but has a small black and white dotted flower. The flower looks like an orchid. Could you identify this or give me direction as t...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Horseshoe Bend, TX
April 01, 2012 - I am trying to identify two plants - one - a flower springing up in a mint patch/Users/leehsb/Desktop/DSC_0407.JPG/Users/leehsb/Desktop/DSC_0408.JPG and the next a small bunched plant in our garden (n...
view the full question and answer

Picture of Castilleja purpurea
February 08, 2015 - Can you tell me what the seedling for Castilleja purpurea looks like? Or do you have a picture?
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center