7 backyard Texas plants you can put on the dinner table

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Although often classified as weeds, some non-grass plants that grow wild in yards and ditches are edible, and can be used as daily nutrition. These Texas plants often grow year-round because of the warm climate, even popping up after a rare summer rain.

How many of these plants do you recognize?

1.Dandelion

Dandelions grow all over the U.S., and are considered one of the toughest weeds to kill. This gardening nuisance is extremely high in Vitamin K and Vitamin A. A 2010 study revealed it could be used to help treat different forms of cancer. The Texas plant’s flowers and leaves are edible but can be bitter. Harvest young plants for the most tender leaves to eat raw or cook as greens. The flowers can be added to fritters or pancakes and the leaves and roots can be used to make a tea that acts as a light diuretic.

Dandelion (via San Antonio River Authority)

2. Wood sorrel

These small, heart-shaped leaves and stems have a sour taste, and can be added to soups or salads for flavor or a sharp crunch. However, the plant contains small amounts oxalic acid and should not be eaten in large quantities.

Wood Sorrel (via Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia)

3. Chickweed

This crawling plant has a light, corny flavor that adds a creamy texture to soups. It tends to grow in carpets anywhere that water and shade are abundant. It’s best to harvest before the small yellow or white flowers begin blooming. All above-ground vegetation is edible and can also be used in a salad.

Chickweed (via Wikimedia Commons)

4. Turkscap (Wax mallow)

The edible flowers of this mallow are sweet like honeysuckle, and the leaves are best eaten cooked to avoid toughness. A dark red fruit grows after the flower petals fall and is also called the Mexican apple. The taste and texture are similar to an apple. Although it grows in the wild, landscapers often use Turkscap for decorative purposes in cultivated gardens.

Turkscap (via Melody Lytle)

5. Autumn sage

All of the red and orange variety of these plants have fragrant, edible flowers and leaves that can be eaten raw, used as seasoning or steeped for tea. It grows wild but is also often cultivated for landscaping, growing in brushy bunches.

Autumn Sage (via The Wildflower Center)

6. Pink evening primrose

The flowers and stems of this delicate pink-flowering plant can be cooked as greens or used in salad. They have the best flavor when harvested before the flowers bloom.

Evening Primrose (via The Wildflower Center)

7. Meadow garlic

The small, white strong-smelling flowers, stems and bulbs taste similar to chives and can be added to salads or used to flavor cooking. Many other plants’ bulbs are toxic so be careful to only gather the ones smelling strongly of garlic.

Meadow garlic (via Campbell and Lynn Loughmiller)

*This list is not comprehensive. Information confirmed at www.wildflower.org and www.foragingtexas.com

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