Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sooo, Texas

So if anyone's wondering where I've been, and where the usual knotweed, garlic mustard and black locust posts are. . .

I went and moved to Texas! 

I know, not something someone usually does spur of the moment, right?

Truthfully, depending on how you look at it, it's either a spontaneous drop everything and go, or something we've been planning for years. My husband and I have known for a while that we wanted to get out of the expensive Northeast, and when I got laid off, it just seemed like a sign.

It's really beautiful here, but I just don't know the plants like I do back home. It's probably going to be a while before I'm ready to try eating much of anything. 

Though I did find this wild garlic. Though identifying the exact plant is hard, identifying as part of the genuius Allium as  easy. Alliums (the onion/garlic family) have a simple rule: if they look like an onion and smell like an onion/garlic then they are an onion/garlic and you can eat it.

Smell is very important as Alliums closely resemble Liliaceae ( the Lilly family), which are nearly all toxic, and many are deadly. In fact, Alliums used to be included as a kind of Liliaceae. 

So when ID-ing a plant as onion/garlic, remember, it should have a flower that forms in an umbel, a lift-colors bulb (not a root) and the bulb needs to have an onion/garlic smell. Umbel flowers are flowers made up of tiny little flowerettes, either lying flat across in a plane (like Queen Anne's lace) or in a sphere, like that of a decorative allium. 

On this particular Allium, it is already past the flowering stage (May is full-on summer in Texas, like
July back home), and these are actually the fruit.

The fruit of this Allium is also edible, and much easier to collect. Just like with the bulbs, you will want to break one open, and check for the onion/garlic smell. Each of these fruits actually IS a bulb, as the plant will drop the fruit and it will sprout from this little "bulbette". So you can treat each of these fruits as a tiny garlic clove you don't really have to peal.

If you're wondering what I made with these, the answer is unfortunately nothing. I found them near the start of my walk, and I didn't want them to wilt, so I was going to pick on my way back, but it started to downpour, and I didn't want to spend any extra time in the rain. 

Texas is experiencing a slight (lol) flooding issue, and when I attempted to return to the garlic, the entire field was under four feet of water. 

Those trees in the center of the river are where the bank originally was.
The river rose to over 5 feet up on the trees, and the next day, all of this was entirely flooded.

I'm always leery of eating any plant which has been covered in floodwater. Unless well-cooked you risk liver-fluke and other water-borne parasites. Although I generally cook garlic, there is still an icky factor, so I am unlikely to be returning to those plants.

Anyway, I'm not likely to be doing much foraging for consumption soon, but I will be posting as I learn about Texas flora and fauna. If that interests you, please keep following, and wish me well on my latest adventure! 


  1. is a great resource for IDing edible plants in this region. He's based in Houston though; you won't find all the plants he covers state-wide.

    1. Yup! There is a lot of information there, but I do wish he had more pics and that they blew up larger. However, once I have a new job I'm going to take one of his classes. He just had one outside of Dallas, but I just didn't have the money to spare

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