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

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 Non-Natives Questions

Plant identification
June 11, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants.I hope you can help to save my sanity! I am a true believer in using native plantings, having a yard that is 99% native. I hope that fact provides me a little extra credit towar...
view the full question and answer

Non-native pittisporum disease in Austin
August 09, 2009 - Did Barbara Medford of Round Rock, TX ever find out what was causing sections of her dwarf pittosporum to die out? I have seen this in many yards now.
view the full question and answer

Replacing St. Augustine grass from Dallas TX
April 10, 2014 - Dear Mr. Pants, we are replacing dying St. Augustine grass in a small, sunny back yard with ground cover. What are your recommendations for a drought-tolerant evergreen ground cover? We will till a...
view the full question and answer

Damage to non-native Japanese maple
March 10, 2009 - I have a medium sized branch of a dwarf outdoor Japanese maple partially (about 70%) broken off. How can I fix it? What chemical/plant hormone/material can I use to initiate regrowth of the broken par...
view the full question and answer

Non-native bougainvillea in Beaufort SC
July 06, 2011 - Bougainvillea-Can I grow these in Beaufort SC?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center