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?


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


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?


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 Invasive Plants Questions

Controlling Straggler Daisy
July 07, 2011 - Is there a barrier I can use that will keep Straggler Daisy under control so that I will not be a problem for my neighbors?
view the full question and answer

Source for non-native, invasive Winter Honeysuckle from Austin
April 24, 2013 - Seeing Lonicera abiflora today reminds me of the "winter honeysuckle" my grandfather grew in San Antonio from 1920s or so through the 1950's. It was a bush with stiff upright stems and bloomed cre...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating English Ivy in East Flat Rock NC
April 13, 2010 - In the woods behind our house our neighbor has an invasion of English Ivy. It creeps over and through the fence into our yard, and we want to fight back! I have read the other articles about cutting...
view the full question and answer

Sheet mulching before planting Habiturf from Grand Prairie, TX
March 03, 2014 - Have you tried sheet mulching as a bed prep and to kill bermuda grass before planting habituff?
view the full question and answer

Invasive silverleaf nightshade in Plainwell MI
June 27, 2010 - Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav. Silverleaf nightshade, Silver-leaf nightshade, White horse nettle. We purchased our land and built here 3 years ago. I have these all over my 30 acres of land including ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center