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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - March 02, 2013

From: Paint Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Medicinal Plants
Title: Edible and Medicinal Plant Resources for West Texas
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am a teacher of gifted and talented students in Paint Rock, Texas. We were looking for a reliable book or website for edible and medicinal plants in West Texas.

ANSWER:

There are several good books that you might consider for your library that cover edible and medicinal plants for the West Texas area (and beyond). One of the most interesting resources is Mark Vorderbruggen’s website called Merriwether’s Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Texas and the Southwest. Vorderbruggen is based in Montrose, Texas and is a petroleum chemist by day and teaches people to identify wild edibles in their local landscapes in his spare time. His website is very informative for those wanting to find, identify and use native plants in Texas.  He even includes a section on medicinal plant books that he has rated and thoroughtly reviewed for people foraging edible wild plants.

Some of the books that he has rated the highest are Herbal Medicine of the American Southwest: The Definitive Guide by Charles W. Kane and Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotanical Guide by Kelly Kindscher. 

Vorderbruggen includes information for beginners on how to start learning about edible wild plants. And the one book that he recommends everyone should start with is The Peterson’s Guide to Edible Wild Plants and then add additional books as needed. He does suggest that no one book will satisfy all needs.

He includes an annotated list of the edible, medicinal and toxic plants included in Jan Wrede's Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of the Texas Hill Country. The book also has good photos and identification information. It is organized by environment, season, plant type, flower color, fruit or seed pod color and use.

Other books that you might consider are Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest: A Practical Guide by Delena Tull, and Native Texas Edible and Medicinal Wildscape by herbalist Nicole Telkes.

There is also an online article entitled Edible Wild Plants in West Texas by Amy L. Gouger and an article on the Natural Resources of Lubbock that might be of interest too.

 

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