En Español

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
1 rating

Friday - March 23, 2012

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Plant Identification
Title: Identity of the mass fields of yellow flowers in North Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Are the mass fields of yellow flowers we are seeing in north Texas now likely to be Indian Mustard (brassica juncea) or Charlock (brassica kaber or sinapis arvensis)? We are teaching a wildflower idenification class at a community college and are ourselves confused about this identification. Thanks for the help.

ANSWER:

The mass fields of yellow flowers we are seeing around Austin are the invasive non-native Rapistrum rugosum (Bastard cabbage).  See the USDA distribution map (if you click on the map, it will give you an enlarged map with county names).

Brassica juncea (Indian or brown mustard) (see the USDA distribution map) and Sinapis arvensis [syn. Brassica kaber](charlock mustard) (see the USDA distribution map) are certainly possibilities, however, around your area near Fort Worth.

Here are photos for Brassica juncea from Stephen F. Austin University, photos of Sinapis arvensis in FlowersInIsrael.com and photos of Rapistrum rugosum from Biological Sciences, University of Texas.

Here are the descriptions for the three species in Flora of North America as seen on eFloras.org:

Brassica juncea

Rapistrum rugosum

Sinapis arvensis

You can also find descriptions of the three species in "Shinners and Mahler's Illuststrated Flora of North Central Texas" on pp. 459, 476 and 479.

If the photos and descriptions don't help you determine which of these you are seeing, you might consider contacting someone knowledgeable about the flora of your area—for instance, a member of the North Central Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT)—to see if they know the identity of these flowers.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Creeping buttercups in juniper in McKeesport PA
May 22, 2010 - I have creeping buttercups in my juniper ground cover. How do I get rid of them.
view the full question and answer

Looking for a supplier of Commelina erecta.
May 29, 2009 - I'm looking for a nursery that sells Commelina erecta?
view the full question and answer

Legality of using Chinese tallow seeds for Christmas decorations
December 07, 2008 - If tallow trees are on the noxious list, is it illegal to use the white berries for Christmas decorations?
view the full question and answer

Invasive Cissus trifoliata in Dallas
May 25, 2011 - I have finally identified an invasive, stinky vine in my urban landscape as Cissus trifoliata. It was waxy leaves, small greenish flowers, and small black berries. It appears to spread with undergrou...
view the full question and answer

Invasive phragmites from New Egypt NJ
July 30, 2011 - I have some wetland near a road. It has been taken over by phragmites. How is the best way to remove these grasses and add some diversity to this area. The area in question is approx. 100 by 30 feet.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center