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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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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

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