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
2 ratings

Friday - December 21, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Medicinal Plants, Shrubs
Title: Is cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) edible?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I found a post here about cenizo leaves being used for tea, but I'm wondering if the leaves of the cenizo are edible? I have found many recipes for 'brown butter sage' leaves (sauteed often with onion) but am unclear if cenizo falls into the edible category .. I appreciate this service very much! Thank you!!

ANSWER:

You are, I think, referring to a previous question that asked about using Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo) leaves for tea.  Christina Mild in Rio Delta Wild talks about using the leaves to make a tea that is reputed to ease symptoms of the common cold.  The description of the tea's smell (like sweaty socks) doesn't make it sound very appealing.  Since cenizo in the Family Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family) isn't really a sage in the Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family) and its leaves are rather thick and tough, I doubt that they would be very tasty.  Here's another opinion about eating cenizo, or Texas sage, that mentions that not even deer or rabbits will eat the leaves unless they are really desparate.  Since the plant does not appear on any of the following toxic plant databases—Poisonous Plants of North Carolina, Cornell University's Plants Poisonous to Livestock, Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System, University of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants, Toxic Plants of Texas, or the California Poison Control System—I doubt that it would harm you to eat it, but I also doubt that you would find it very palatable.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Will shoes pick up American Beautyberry fruit and stain carpets?
March 21, 2010 - Do the berries from American Beautyberry fall on the ground so your shoes pick up the berries to stain the carpet in my house?
view the full question and answer

Wax myrtle or cherry laurel in Austin?
November 15, 2009 - For a very shady area under a large old oak tree with oak toxic soil, would a Wax Myrtle or a Cherry Laurel (caroliniana) be better? Looking for an evergreen screening tree up to 20ft, but it only get...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrubs native to North Georgia
March 26, 2007 - I am looking for native plants (shrubs) that will stay green during the winter in North Georgia. We are completing a xeriscape landscape plan as a demonstration site and have many native plants donate...
view the full question and answer

Climbing options for a Coral honeysuckle in Austin Texas
April 16, 2013 - Regarding Coral honeysuckle, what is the best support to encourage continued spread, chicken-wire/fencing? Currently the plants and vines are on fencing and beginning to fold over. I'd like to add...
view the full question and answer

Problem with American Beautyberry in Houston.
July 02, 2014 - My American Beautyberry is dying one branch at a time. The entire plant looks great, now flowering and starting to put out berries. Then one or two branches will completely die. Trim those off, wi...
view the full question and answer

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