Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - December 26, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Looking for stinging nettle not exposed to pesticides or exhaust
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, Thank you for providing this service! I'm interested in foraging and wild edibles in Austin and am wondering if anyone can tell me a spot where I could harvest some Stinging Nettle that is unexposed to exhaust or pesticides. If you have any other special recommendations for local wild edibles that grow in abundance, I would be appreciative!

ANSWER:

If you are referring to Urtica dioica (Stinging nettle), it is shown in Turner et al. Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Texas as occurring in Texas only in Wheeler County in the Panhandle.  Urtica chamaedryoides (Heartleaf nettle), however, does occur in Travis County.  It is also called "stinging nettle" by some and, indeed, Green Deane on the Eat the Weeds website calls it "the nettle that stings the worst".  Unfortunately, I don't have first hand knowledge about where it might occur at all and certainly not where plants that haven't been exposed to pesticides or exhaust from automobiles could be found.  I think your best bet for finding such stinging nettles is by contacting fellow wild food foragers.   In the Austin area there is the Texas Wild Plant and Food Foragers.  On Facebook you can find the Wild Food and Foraging Austin page.  You might also try contacting someone in the Austin Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas.

For foraging in Texas there is Foraging Texas:  Merriwether's Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Texas and the Southwest and Wild Edible Plants of Texas websites.  And, if you don't already know it, there is the 2013 book by Delena Tull, Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest:  Texas, Mexico and Arizona available in the Wildflower Center store.  This is the revised version of her 2009 publication Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest.

Here are three different discussions about edible native plants in the Austin area by another Mr. Smarty Plants contributor that you may find interesting:  discussion #1, discussion #2 and discussion #3.

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Identification of shrub/small tree with small purple fruit
July 31, 2013 - Hi! I have a tree/bush that has come up on its own in the backyard. This year it set what looks like small purple plums. Is there any chance that they might be poisonous?
view the full question and answer

Non-native pomegranate failing to fruit from Highland Village TX
October 20, 2012 - Last spring I planted a pomegranate tree (type: Wonderful) which is supposed to produce edible fruit. It had 5 or 6 absolutely beautiful blooms, but each of them dropped off and no sign of fruit. Is...
view the full question and answer

Is it possible to eat one nightshade berry and live?
September 16, 2012 - Can I eat one nightshade berry and live? I am 18.
view the full question and answer

Effects of Hedysarum mackenzii from Pflugerville TX
May 08, 2013 - What are the effects of Hedysarum mackenzii?
view the full question and answer

Wild plums for jelly from Conroe TX
December 18, 2012 - Do wild plum trees grow in my area? I want to get some next summer to make plum jelly.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.