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

Die-off of Texas bluebells
June 04, 2008 - I live in southeast Travis County east of IH35 in the Blackland Prairie. We have a gorgeous stand of Texas bluebells. Last year, the bluebells would look fine, then they would turn brown and die for...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly plants from Austin TX
December 17, 2012 - I have a butterfly garden in the front part of the house facing the south side. However it is also mostly under a few Oak trees that cast shadow over half of the front yard starting early afternoon. ...
view the full question and answer

Planting bluebonnets
April 20, 2008 - How long do bluebonnet seeds take to mature, and when is the earliest in their development they can be harvested? When can they be scattered?
view the full question and answer

Starting Tecoma stans seedlings
February 25, 2013 - I planted and germinated several (about 40) seeds from my Tecoma stans plant and they all sprouted and grew very nicely. They are now about 6 weeks old and they don't seem to be making any more prog...
view the full question and answer

Seeds for India from Guilderland NY
August 15, 2010 - I have Green Cross “Non Profitable” trust in TamilNadu India. We are looking for free seeds from Government and other NGO foundations. Moto: Global Vowing awareness program and our volunteers help ...
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