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

Thursday - November 01, 2012

From: Camp Wood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Edible native plants for Camp Wood, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We live northwest of Camp Wood, TX in the uplands, so our soil is shallow with caliche and limestone beneath and is clay-like with the typical higher pH. Are there any native trees, bushes, vines, or plants that can survive in this soil type that produce edible food in some quantity. We do have agarita and prickly pear which has edible fruits, but not in much quantity.


We have a list of Edible Native Texas Plants that lists plants found in our edible plants garden.  Not all of those are native to your area, of course, but you can determine which ones are by opening the species page for each plant and scrolling to the bottom of the page.   When you find the entry for ADDITIONAL RESOURCES there click on the USDA link.   This will take you to the USDA Plants Database page that has a distribution map for that plant.  If you click on Texas on the map, it will show you the distribution by county for the plant and you can determine if it occurs in or adjacent to Real County.  If you click on the county distribution map again, it will give you the names of the counties as well.

Below are some edible native plants that occur in or adjacent to Real County:

Allium canadense (Meadow garlic) and Allium drummondii (Drummond's onion)

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud).  The flowers are delicious in a salad or added to pancake batter or muffins.

Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon). According to Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest:

"When fully ripe, the sweet rich fruit has a flavor that resembles that of a prune.  The astringency of the unripe fruit makes your mouth pucker and leaves a horrid taste, so use only the soft juicy fruit."

Hedeoma drummondii (Drummond's false pennyroyal) smells and tastes like peppermint and can be used as herbal flavoring and teas.

Juglans microcarpa (Little walnut) is delicious but difficult to extract from its hard case.

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap or turkscap) fruits can be eaten raw or cooked.

Monarda citriodora (Lemon beebalm) makes a strong-flavored tea.

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose) young leaves are delicious in a salad or cooked as a green.

Oxalis drummondii (Drummond's woodsorrel) can be used as addition to a salad or as a flavoring in soups or vegetable dishes.

Tradescantia gigantea (Giant spiderwort) young tender stems, leaves and flower parts can be used raw in salads or added to soups, stews and sauteed vegetables.

Vitis cinerea var. helleri (Winter grape)

Vitis monticola (Sweet mountain grape)

Prosopis glandulosa (Honey mesquite) meal made from the roasted and ground beans can be used in many recipes.

Celtis laevigata (Sugar hackberry) has edible berries.

Please see the answer to a previous question about edible plants around Austin, TX.  Although not all the plants mentioned in the previous question occur in or adjacent to Real County, the description of the uses of the plants that do are relevant to your question.

I also recommend Delena Tull's Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest and Carolyn Harvel's and Billie Turner's Recipes from the Wild:  Cooking with Native Texas Plants.  Also, you can fond food plants used by Native Americans on the Texas Beyond History webpage.


From the Image Gallery

Meadow garlic
Allium canadense

Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Drummond's false pennyroyal
Hedeoma drummondii

Little walnut
Juglans microcarpa

Turk's cap or turkscap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Lemon beebalm
Monarda citriodora

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Drummond's wood-sorrel
Oxalis drummondii

Giant spiderwort
Tradescantia gigantea

Winter grape
Vitis cinerea var. helleri

Sweet mountain grape
Vitis monticola

More Edible Plants Questions

Edible Native Plants for a Small Austin Garden
March 15, 2010 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants (or Mrs. or Miss, whomever is answering this go'round)! First off, thank you so much for all the help you have given me in the past. Secondly, the company my husband works ...
view the full question and answer

Need information about Pignut (Hoffmannseggia glauca).
November 30, 2009 - I wanted to know a little about Pignut (also called Indian Rush-pea and Hog Potato); botanical name Hoffmannseggia glauca. Is it edible, and at what point does the plant produce a tuber (looks like a ...
view the full question and answer

Use of cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) for tea
February 20, 2006 - Back in the 50's when I spent the summers with my grandmother south of Hondo, Texas, she use to pick leaves from the cenizo (purple sage) bushes, dry them and then brew them for tea. I asked one of m...
view the full question and answer

Will corn fall victim to allelopathy from hackberry in Clarkridge AR
March 30, 2013 - Will my corn be inhibited by a nearby hackberry and if so would it help to cut it down? I understand that sometimes the soil is full of the chemicals the tree produces.
view the full question and answer

Need source of plants for making teas in Bend, Oregon.
July 08, 2012 - I love to make my own tea, just moved to central Oregon and want to know some good plants I can find anywhere in town and can use in my teas.
view the full question and answer

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