En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

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

Living fence line from Thomasville GA
November 04, 2012 - I would like to create a natural fence line on my property in South Georgia. They need to be pretty dense and horse, cow, goat friendly, growing to a height of about 4ft, preferably quickly! Do you ...
view the full question and answer

Campsis radicans or cow itch
April 03, 2008 - We cleaned my father-in-law's home-place up out in the country week-before-last. My wife, her 2 sisters and a niece have this unusual-looking poison on them. It is big red places and itches all ove...
view the full question and answer

Root cuttings for non-native, poisonous oleander from Mobile AL
December 16, 2010 - I need help with best method to root cuttings from my oleander tree. Please advise best method. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge non-toxic for horses and goats in Muskogee, OK
March 31, 2009 - I live in northeastern Oklahoma. I am trying to find an evergreen hedge, 6-8 ft in height, 4-6 ft spread that is not harmful to horses or goats. Everything that I have found is for Zone 8 or 9.
view the full question and answer

Muhlenbergia dumosa safe for horses from Austin
May 13, 2014 - Is Muhlenbergia dumosa safe for horses? Will horses eat it? I have a client who has a mini-horse who visits her property on occasion, and I want to ensure that what I plant is both safe for the hors...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center