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

Toxicity of Peruvian Lilies (Alstroemeria sp) for food decoration
September 04, 2006 - Hi, I am trying to find out if I can decorate a cake using live alstroemeria laid on top of the icing. I would not want to eat the flower, just lay it on top to look pretty before removing and servi...
view the full question and answer

Safe grazing for donkeys and goats from Osteen FL
June 30, 2012 - I am having a very difficult time trying to find shrubs, hedges, plants, flowers, or trees etc. that are safe for donkeys and goats. We live in Zone 9 and have a small farm. I've had to pull every ...
view the full question and answer

Rash resulting from cutting trees in NC.
May 08, 2012 - My boyfriend was cutting some trees yesterday. He had thorns in his hands after he was done, and today he has a rash on his legs, a fever and he feels like throwing up. Can you tell me if its symptoms...
view the full question and answer

Are Castor Bean Leaves Toxic to Pets?
September 13, 2014 - I understand that the beans of the castor plant on lethal if chewed on. Are the leaves that toxic? I would love to plant this plant and not let it flower, but I do have visiting grandchildren and dog...
view the full question and answer

Are bald cypress cones toxic to dogs?
October 27, 2013 - Are bald cypress tree seed pods poisonous? to dogs? We just got a rescue dog and we go out in the yard with her. But now that we are into fall and the pods are falling. She goes right to them. Are...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center