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

Saturday - March 17, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Bastard cabbage in Austin TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Not sure if this is the forum to address this; but is there any effort out there to do something about the bastard cabbage taking over Austin? Especially on MoPac where you can hardly see the bluebonnets this year. This stuff exploded in front of my business in Cedar Park a few years ago and I pulled it all out in a few weeding sessions and it has not been a problem since. Has the Highway Department or whoever in charge of this just decided it's hopeless and we will watch it take over?

ANSWER:

1. Mr. Smarty Plants is not a forum, right or wrong. We are a largely volunteer team answering questions about native plants.

2. From Texas Invasives, here is information on the spread of Rapistrum rugosum (Bastard cabbage).

3. The responsible agency on roadside plants such as this is the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDot). Here are their Vegetation Management Guidelines. Sometimes mowing is delayed or prohibited to permit wildflowers (such as bluebonnets) get through their blooming season and set seeds, but there are probably funding and manpower issues that keep all the roadsides from being mowed all the time.

4. Bastard Cabbage is a survivor; it can be mowed almost to the ground and will promptly put out some stalks, even from flat on the surface, bloom and put out seeds.

5. If there were enough willing volunteers to get out and hand-pull the plants, as you have done, possibly it could be controlled, but we don't think so.

5. Here is an article on the spread and control of the plant from the Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Plant Working Group.

6. From the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, Invasive Plants.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Toxicity of non-native red-tip photinia to fish from Friendswood TX
April 10, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have seen several questions on Red Tip Photinia (RTP) concerning toxicity to horses, dogs and children. We recently lost over 100 gold fish and 6 large KOI in our man made back ...
view the full question and answer

Difference in native and non-native cherry laurel
October 02, 2014 - I have a backyard volunteer that I have identified as a cherry laurel, but how do I tell the Carolina from the non-native? This is still young (2 years or so), and not flowering, at least not now.
view the full question and answer

Trailing perennial plants for High Wycombe, England
April 19, 2008 - Hello Mr Smarty Plants, I would like to know what trailing plants are also perennial, preferably flowering ones but that also look pretty when not in flower? My kitchen looks out onto a five foot h...
view the full question and answer

Vegetable garden in Ballston Spa, NY
August 02, 2011 - I never got my veg. garden in this year. Are there any late crops I can still plant at this late date in Ballston Spa, NY? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Sticky leaves on non-native weeping willow
August 03, 2008 - Our weeping willow trees look healthy but have sticky leaves that attach to everything. They sparkle/shine from this very sticky mess. They are watered regularly, are they getting too much water? ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center