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
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

Is Cerinthe major toxic to cats in Gresham, OR
March 14, 2013 - Hi, I was wondering about whether a specific plant was poisonous or not specifically to cats.. I've done a lot of searching and can't find anything on whether or not this plant is considered toxi...
view the full question and answer

Poisonous plants of Texas Bays and Estuaries
February 24, 2011 - What is a poisonous native plants of the Bay and Estuary system in Southeast Texas?
view the full question and answer

Food Allergy to Beautyberry or Persimmon?
October 22, 2015 - I think I might have a food allergy to Beautyberry or American Persimmon, eaten Saturday at the North Carolina Great Dismal park. These were the only strange foods recently, though I've had persimmo...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of non-native red-tip photinia to fish from Friendswood TX
April 10, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have seen several questions on Red Tip Photinia (RTP) concerning toxicity to horses, dogs and children. We recently lost over 100 gold fish and 6 large KOI in our man made back ...
view the full question and answer

Is Desert willow poisonous to horses in Boerne TX
July 17, 2009 - I have just purchased Bubba Desert Willows and have horses. Will they eat them, do you know and if so will they be harmed? Thanks
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