Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - December 18, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Edible Plants
Title: Ground cover plant that tastes like cucumbers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

It is a native ground cover plant that is edible and tastes like cucumbers. Found in the Edwards Plateau. What is the name?

ANSWER:

I think most probably you are talking about Parietaria pensylvanica (Pennsylvania cucumber plant).  You can see its distribution in Texas on the USDA Plants Database map.  Here is more information and photos from Southwest Environmental Information Network and still more photos.  Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest says:

"Try a nibble of the small leaves and juicy stems of Parietaria.  Though not related to the cucumber, the flavor of this tiny herb comes close to that of the garden cucumber.  The herb provides a refreshing addition to salads."

 

From the Image Gallery


Pennsylvania pellitory
Parietaria pensylvanica

More Plant Identification Questions

Difference between invasive Chinese and Japanese wisterias and native wisteria
September 12, 2014 - Dear Mr or Ms Smarty Plants, Is there any way I can tell for sure if my wisteria is native? I bought it at a place when it was in bloom that sold a lot of native plants. I Would like to know for sure...
view the full question and answer

Can you identify a funny looking bulb that I bought at the grocery store? Probably not..
May 06, 2010 - I looked through your data base and did not find what I was looking for. I bought this funny looking bulb at a grocery store. It looked like a giant shriveled spider when i bought them. Due to lack of...
view the full question and answer

Identification of ivy-like plant with large purplish leaves.
March 27, 2015 - Can you ID this ivy-like growing plant with a big purplish elephant ear type leaf and a big green stem pouch?
view the full question and answer

Identification of a cucumber-like vine with fruit
November 16, 2011 - We found tiny, grape-size white melon-like fruit on a vine, with tomato-like/cucumber-like seeds. The leaves on the vine were similar to grape or cucumber leaves, but not spiny. They were behind our...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from New York
August 21, 2014 - I have a sunflower like plant growing mysteriously in our garden. Its leaves are large heart shaped. It is a single stem plant. The base of each branch is a small, orange colored bud looking as if...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.