Contact Us Host an Event 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
1 rating

Tuesday - September 13, 2011

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Are there edible nettles native to the Austin, TX area?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Are there any nettles native to this area? I would like to cook with them (if there is a good substitute, please advise). Thank you.

ANSWER:

There are several plants that have the word nettle as part of their name (Horse nettle Solanum carolinense (Carolina horse-nettle) and Bull nettle Cnidoscolus texanus (Texas bullnettle), but you probably wouldn't want to cook with either of these. The true nettles are in the genus Urtica, eg Urtica dioica (Stinging nettle).

This USDA Distribution map shows Urtica dioica occurring in the state of Texas, but does not show its distribution by county, so I really don't know about it's local occurrence.

Since you are interested in cooking, I’m going to suggest Delena Tull’s “Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest” for recipes and other possibilities.
This link to Botanical.com has good information, both botanical and historical about stinging nettles, and this link to wildmanstevebrill.com is very informative about the use of stinging nettles, and has great photographs.

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Red berry that changes the taste of other foods
January 15, 2013 - Hi, your site is fantastic. I heard from a friend that he tried a red berry in Florida which when eaten change the taste of other foods eaten afterwards. He ate a lemon after trying that berry and th...
view the full question and answer

Spots on non-native naval orange trees from Stockton CA
October 20, 2012 - I have two mature Navel Orange trees. One tree has developed spotty chlorophyl depleted areas that were not on the oranges when they were smaller. In addition, the oranges on both trees are smaller ,...
view the full question and answer

Books on edible wild plants for Michigan
September 10, 2009 - What book do you recommend to find edible wild plants in Michigan? I've found several books on edible plants, but they are all centered on the western states.
view the full question and answer

Citrus trees for Austin
May 21, 2008 - I am looking for citrus that grows in the Austin,Tx area. Could you offer any suggestions please?
view the full question and answer

Fiber and dye plants at the Wildflower Center from Round Rock TX
May 24, 2012 - When I visited the Wildflower Center recently I noticed a garden labeled as containing fiber and dye plants, but the individual plants and their uses were not all labeled. I would be very interested ...
view the full question and answer

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