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

Sunday - June 08, 2008

From: Palmdale, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Plum trees (Prunus spp.) poisonous to horses
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Are fruitless plum trees poisonous to horses

ANSWER:

I am supposing your fruitless plum is Purple Pony Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera). At any rate, I am sure it is a member of the genus Prunus which includes peaches, plums, apricots, cherries and chokecherries. P. cerasifera is not listed specifically in any poisonous plants database, but many other members of the genus are listed and all have the same warning about the ingestion of leaves, twigs or seeds of fruit. These parts of the plants contain cyanogenic glycoside or cyanogens that are highly toxic and may be fatal if eaten. Cyanogenic glycosides are changed into free cyanide either in plant material that has been damaged or in the gastrointestinal tracts of animals. It is most severe in ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, deer) but is also very dangerous for animals with single stomachs (e.g., dogs, cats, horses, pigs).

See the following poisonous plants websites for information about the Prunus spp.:

Texas Toxic Plant Database

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Cornell University Poisonous Plants Informational Database

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Indiana Plants Poisonous to Livestock and Pets

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

If there is a Prunus spp. tree in the field where the horse is to be pastured, I believe I would remove the tree or move the horse to a different pasture. This is especially so if it is a small pasture where the horse is more likely to come in contact with the tree or if other vegetation is sparse so that the horse would consider eating leaves off the tree.

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Jimsonweed and its toxic nature
June 21, 2011 - I purchased a Jimson weed plant at a local plant sale at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center this spring and was quite surprised at how quickly & large it grew. After the first round of flowers fa...
view the full question and answer

Vine non-toxic to alpacas and dogs from Fowler CA
June 29, 2012 - We have alpacas and would like to plant a flowering vine on a backyard fence that adjoins the pasture. We live in Central California so we have many hot days during the summer and would like a plan...
view the full question and answer

Does Helasia diptera absorb toxic substances from Dover Plains NY
March 09, 2012 - Dear Mr. Plants, Halesia carolina is described as absorbing toxic substances: herbicides, pesticides and pollutants from water, air and soil. Does Halesia diptera do the same? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Lupinus perennis Poisonous to Dogs?
April 14, 2013 - I have heard that some lupine varieties are quite poisonous to dogs, others are not. Do you know if it's safe for my dogs if I plant and encourage Lupinus perennis in my NH meadow?
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing non-invasive shrub for privacy fence in Sugar Land TX
December 06, 2011 - I live in South Texas in Sugar Land. I was going to plant oleanders in my backyard along the fence as a privacy hedge, about 20 feet from my house. However, I was told they were a bad choice becaus...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center