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

Identification of giant lilies
October 12, 2007 - I have giant lilies that I can't identify. The bulbs are about 4" in diameter, the leaves are 4 ft long. The flowers of the pink emerge only in the early summer, the flowers of the red emerge in s...
view the full question and answer

Tree with light-colored bark, thorns and long white clumps of flowers
August 18, 2015 - I bought a tree at the LBJWC plant sale a couple years ago but lost the name of the tree. I'm finally ready to plant it in the ground and would like to learn more about what its needs are. Can you ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 11, 2011 - This plant will grow 12-15 feet or more in height in the rural areas of Ellis County south of Dallas. In a fractal manner, stems grow out of the stalk and then from the stems. The leaves are green, th...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 19, 2011 - I am trying to identify a flowering plant I saw today in Houston. Its leaves are green and it produces beautiful flowers with 4 petals that kind of remind me of a pinwheel. The petals are about 2 inch...
view the full question and answer

Identifcation of flower in a bouquet
August 30, 2009 - My boyfriend bought a bouquet and I'd like to know the name of the kind of green flower that looks like a mum but the petals look like rich, full grass or like a tall shag carpet. It has a stem with ...
view the full question and answer

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