Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
2 ratings

Thursday - January 07, 2010

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: complete list of Central Texas edible plants
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

Hello! I have been searching for a complete list of Texas Hill Country Native Edibles (for humans) without much luck. Do you know of a good source? Thanks so much for your hard work! Steph

ANSWER:

So far, there is no single, comprehensive source focusing on the edible plants of only the Texas Hill Country. Those of us interested in this topic usually rely on Delena Tull's Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest and then figure out which plants occur in central Texas using sources like Correll and Johnston's Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas and the USDA Plants database, the latter of which allows you to determine what counties a species occurs in.

There is also a Texas archaeology website organized by region, called Texas Beyond History, that contains ethnobotany information. If you go to their page and click on "Plateaus and Canyonlands" and then on "Nature's Harvest", an array of plants known to have been used by the area's inhabitants will come up and you can then click on each plant to learn if it was eaten. I would recommend going through each region, since many of the species featured for other regions extend into central Texas.

You can also glean what you can about the topic from a couple of regional history books that touch on post-Columbian plant usage by indigenous peoples: The Native Americans of the Texas Edwards Plateau, 1582-1799 by Maria F. Wade and Spanish Expeditions into Texas 1689-1768 by William C. Foster. The latter in particular has a good appendix on possible identities of plants mentioned in historic records, with assistance from Scooter Cheatham and Lynn Marshall of the Useful Wild Plants of Texas volumes, another good source of information. You can also use Daniel Moerman's excellent, comprehensive Native American Ethnobotany, but that's continent-wide so you'd have to limit your focus to only regional plants.

For an earlier attempt we made at providing an introductory list of edible plants of central Texas, see this answer to a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question.

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Blueberries & Raspberries for Walla Walla WA
October 17, 2011 - Which blueberry and raspbery plants grow best and suvive winter in Walla Walla Washington
view the full question and answer

Jelly made from local plums from Amarillo TX
July 29, 2011 - On Wednesday, August 5, 2009 you answered a question on native plants in the Austin area in which you wrote:"Two kinds of local plums have also been used to make jellies: Mexican Plum (Prunus mexican...
view the full question and answer

Can bastard cabbage be eaten from Austin
May 02, 2013 - 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 ...
view the full question and answer

Information on cherry trees from Santa Fe
May 23, 2010 - 1.does the purple leaf sand cherry have edible fruits? size, flavor, cross pollinator necessary, fruiting time? cultivars? zone, soil, light, water? 2. fall foliage color of 'Meteor" cherry tree?
view the full question and answer

Garden crop to plant in July in Austin
July 16, 2010 - I've just been given access to a plot at Sunshine Gardens and must plant something within 30 days. What would be a good planting crop for the middle of July that would be successful for harvesting i...
view the full question and answer

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