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
3 ratings

Thursday - September 23, 2004

From: Edmond, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Poisonous Trees
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

Are redbuds and catalpa trees poisonous?

ANSWER:

The southern catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides) is commonly used in the southwest as a fast growing ornamental tree. However, the research that I have committed alludes to the vegetative parts of the catalpa as being poisonous. According to my research, many members of the pea family (Fabaceae) have been found to contain lectins, a carbohydrate-binding protein that may affect the intestines & prevent absorption of nutrients. Some members of the pea family are more toxic than others, depending on the species. Scooter Cheatham, in his book "The useful wild plants of Texas, the Southeastern and Southwestern United States, the Southern Plains, and Northern Mexico", states that the immature seed-pods of redbud (Cercis canadensis) can be eaten raw, cooked or boiled with no adverse effects. Conclusion: since I am not an accredited nutritionist, I can only provide you with a bit of information to supplement your research. I recommend contacting your state native plant society & determine if there is a local interest for ethnobotanical uses of your regional flora, which should lead you to credible resources that can supplement your research.
 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Planting Mountain Laurel grown from seeds in Argentina
April 09, 2014 - Hello, I was transferred to Cordoba, Argentina 2 years ago from San Antonio, the climate hereis similar to S. TX, anyway I brought some mountain laurel seeds with me and they have been in 2 gallon pot...
view the full question and answer

Plants for water park
January 03, 2013 - Hi, I usually have no problem locating the right species for a given situation, but I may need some advice for this. I am looking for plants -- from annual & perennial flowers to shrubs and small t...
view the full question and answer

Precautions to take with Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum
September 13, 2009 - Are there precautions to take, such as wearing gloves while separating the seeds from the Jack In The Pulpit berries. The photos I have seen have gloved hands. I've read that the plant is toxic if in...
view the full question and answer

Toxic effect of mulberry fruits and sap
August 18, 2009 - What would be the toxic effect of the unripe fruit of the mulberry tree or the white sap?
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

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.