En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 20, 2014

From: Cape May Court House , NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Butterfly Gardens, Pests, Poisonous Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Will Canada geese eat Asclepias tuberosa from Cape May Court, NJ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Will Canada geese eat my butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)? I know this plant is deer resistant. I really want to plant some on sandy bank near pond in my back yard, but I fear the geese will eat it since this variety does not contain the high quantity of milky sap that other milkweeds have.

ANSWER:

Not unless they are really dumb geese. From our webpage on Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed):

"Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: Roots, plant sap from all parts. Not edible. Toxic only if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include vomiting, stupor, weakness, spasms. Toxic Principle: Resinoid, cardiac glycoside. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)"

This is a property that makes milkweeds valuable to butterflies, or more specifically, the caterpillars which are the butterfly children. The caterpillar is able to feed on the sap of the milkweed and transmit that poisonous trait to the butterflies, which then taste really bad to the birds that try to eat them.

We then went hunting for specific information on whether geese would eat milkweed. To be honest, we never found any specific information on a plant they would NOT eat, but on the other hand, we never found any information saying that they considered Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed) to be a gourmet food.

From Ask.com, What Do Geese Eat?

"Geese are herbivores, which mean that they eat only plant products. They eat grass, grain, wheat, beans, corn, and rice. They also eat plants that grow around lakes and bodies of water."

From Native Plants Wildlife Gardens Help Monarchs with the Right Milkweeds. From  previous Mr. Smarty Plants question What Plants will Ducks and Geese Not Eat?

 

From the Image Gallery


Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Non-poisonous, non-allergenic plants for privacy fence
March 15, 2012 - I'm looking to put in some plants to create a privacy fence against one side of my property. I'd like a mix of plants that grow well together in order to create a diverse look. I need something ever...
view the full question and answer

How toxic are wild cherries for horses?
June 11, 2009 - I purchased a beautiful piece of heaven in the rural suburbs. I have three horses and grow my own hay. Unfortunately, I have just learned the woods surrounding my field is lined with Black Walnut, Wil...
view the full question and answer

Non-native vines poisonous from Bakersfield CA
May 17, 2013 - Are pink bower vines and stars and stripes mandevilla toxic to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Recognizing poison ivy
June 20, 2007 - I am having a difficult time identifying poison ivy. It seems so many plants look like poison ivy can you help me I don't want to kill everything but on the same hand I don't want to itch. Thanks f...
view the full question and answer

Are wild cherry trees poisonous for horses?
October 31, 2010 - I have just purchased a pony and have been told that wild cherry trees could cause harm or even kill her. Is this true and where can I go to get a list of all the poisonous plants, shrubs and trees fo...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center