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
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

Tropical looking plants for pool area in California
November 14, 2008 - I am looking for small tropical looking plants, groundcover, and 2-small trees for around my pool. They have to be non-toxic to dogs,cats, and people. They can't attract bees/wasps, or have a root ...
view the full question and answer

Weeds safe for rabbits to eat
January 21, 2009 - I have several types of weeds running rampant in my large backyard. I can't seem to keep up with them. I have a couple rabbits and was wondering if the weeds are edible and would be okay to feed to...
view the full question and answer

Will blue eyed grass grow under black walnut trees?
January 18, 2016 - Will blue eyed grass grow under black walnut trees? I know the Siberian Iris is tolerant but the scientific names are not the same yet everything I read indicates that blue eyed grass is not in the g...
view the full question and answer

Food for a veiled chameleon in Columbus GA
May 20, 2011 - Hi I own a Veiled Chameleon, and have been recently searching for different options as to live plant use for their cage. It has pretty much come down to using hibiscus plants and only hibicus plants. ...
view the full question and answer

Are variegated ginger plants poisonous to cats?
June 16, 2009 - Is a variegated ginger plant poisonous to cats?
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center