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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.

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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.

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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!

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Thursday - May 02, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Edible Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Can bastard cabbage be eaten from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

On a local cooking show they were talking about cooking local foods and mentioned bastard cabbage but never showed how to cook it or if it was in fact edible. Would be a way to help get rid of it if we could eat it, cook it, whatever. Please let me know if either is possible.

ANSWER:

We think the reference to Rapistrum rugosum (Bastard Cabbage) on a cooking show was meant as a joke. If so, we aren't laughing. Even if it were edible (and we can find no indication otherwise) there are not enough people hungry enough to go out on the Texas roadsides to gather, cook and eat the stuff, any part of it. Many of the members of the Mustard family (which this is) are indeed edible, and this plant is sometimes referred to as "wild turnip."  We are sure that the reason there was no recipe nor cooking demonstration on the program is because there are no such recipes and no one would be brave enough to eat something not certified by experts as non-toxic to humans.

 

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