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

Japanese beetles in Port Monmouth, NJ
April 08, 2009 - I have searched your web-site in the hopes of not repeating or bothering you with a question not in your field. I am hoping you can help me. I live in Port Monmouth, New Jersey. Last year many of my ...
view the full question and answer

Differences between Desmodium and Lespedezda
June 19, 2014 - i am trying to determine the difference between lespedeza and desmodium in my full sun wildflower and tall grasses meadow. There appear to be a number of different types of these plants, and they are...
view the full question and answer

Plants for hanging baskets in Austin
October 06, 2009 - Can you suggest some plants for winter hanging baskets in the Austin, TX area?
view the full question and answer

Secretions of fluid from crepe myrtles
June 09, 2008 - On my crepe myrtle tree I have dozens of 1/2-inch-long narrow bugs that seem to secrete tiny drops of fluid. They appear on the branches of the tree. Are these harmful to the tree? Do I need to do ...
view the full question and answer

Red pods on Canna Lilies from Windsor VA
July 21, 2013 - What are the dark red pods on my canna lilies?
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