Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Monday - June 25, 2007

From: Prairieville, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Toxicity of Lupinus ssp. (bluebonnets)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Are bluebonnets toxic to cattle?

ANSWER:

There are six species native to Texas that are known as bluebonnets (all designated as the Official State Flower): Lupinus subcarnosus, L. texensis, L. havardii, L. concinnus, L. plattensis, and L. perennis. In general, many species of Lupinus are called bluebonnets and most of those are considered toxic. In particular, the seeds are the culprits with high levels of alkaloids. Lupinus latifolius (broadleaf lupine) and the alkaloid anagyrine contained in its seeds (when eaten by a pregnant cow) is implicated in causing crooked calf disease. The Canadian Poisonous Information System lists symptoms of poisoning by Lupinus sericeus (silky lupine) for cattle, sheep, and horses. Montana Plant Life lists Lupinus arbustus ssp. calcaratus (longspur lupine) and Lupinus argenteus (silvery lupine), as well as L. sericeus, as having poisonous leaves and seeds.

L. perennis (listed as toxic by the Poisonous Plants of Pennsylvania database) is the only member of the genus native to Louisiana or Texas specifically designated as poisonous. In fact, the Texas Toxic Plant Database, based on the book, Toxic Plants of Texas by Charles R. Hart and others from the Texas Cooperative Extension Service of Texas A&M University, does not list any lupines at all. This suggests that poisoning by lupines in Texas and Louisiana (which share many of the same species of Lupinus) is not a serious problem. Nevertheless, Poisonous Plants of North Carolina lists all Lupinus species as toxic if large quantities of seeds are eaten. If cattle are kept in an area where there is little forage except bluebonnets with many mature seed pods, there could be serious concern about risk of poisoning.


 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

How toxic are milkweed (Asclepias spp.)?
November 01, 2011 - We are considering a monarch waystation for our local elementary and are concerned about milkweed toxicity. Would it be safe to plant it in reach of children?
view the full question and answer

Safety of Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel tree) for parrots
April 25, 2007 - Do you have any information on the possible toxicity of Baccharis halimifolia (Groundsel tree, sea myrtle) most especially the trunks/branches? We have it all over our property, and I'm curious if it...
view the full question and answer

California plants poisonous to dogs from Sacramento
July 01, 2012 - Found dodonea viscosa purple. Is it poisonous to dogs? Also Gold Star Potentilla. Going drought tolerant and need small trees, shrubs and plants not poisonous to dogs for sun and partial sun.
view the full question and answer

Are seeds of trumpet vine poisonous from Creston BC
September 12, 2013 - Are the seeds in the trumpet vines pods poisonous to humans or can I use them as dried beans? I have one plant that covers most of my house's south wall. It is a very established plant.
view the full question and answer

Is it safe to eat vegetables grown in the same bed as foxgloves?
August 12, 2012 - I have foxglove in my flower beds and have planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and cantaloupe in the flower bed and now I am concerned about the shared root system. Also, my tomatoes are touching the...
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.