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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Native Texas Plants for a Terrarium
October 08, 2014 - I have a 55-gallon aquarium that I would like to make into a terrarium. Are there any Texas native plants that would do well in the limited artificial light of the tank? The plants should be of varyin...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Groundcovers for a Sunny Clay Soil in NC
April 15, 2015 - We have a landscaping business in Stanfield, NC. We are looking for suggestions for evergreen groundcovers for a sunny clay area. They need to fill in quickly and stay low for 1,600 square feet. Than...
view the full question and answer

Managing a wet area in Austin
November 18, 2013 - I suspect that my backyard lies at the very top of a creek watershed. However, all of the water flowing through it gets blocked by a solid stone wall. Whenever we get a significant rain event, part ...
view the full question and answer

Small area native plant gardening for an apartment
November 14, 2008 - Mr.Smarty, We live in an apartment and are fortunate to have a small area, 5'x5', and so want color! Here in Houston the winters don't freeze much and the summers are HOT. Luckily, we are in the ...
view the full question and answer

Blue Natives for San Antonio
June 28, 2012 - What are the best flowers or trees to buy since we are always in stage 2 and sometimes in stage 3 water conservation? I love flowers that are blue, preferably year around. THANK YOU
view the full question and answer

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