Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Trimming Texas mountain laurel in Austin
August 27, 2009 - Is there a specific time to trim established mountain laurels? Should I cut off the dried seed pods since they are weighing down the branches?
view the full question and answer

Flying insects eating leaves of non-native Brugmansia in Aline CA
October 17, 2013 - I have an Angel Trumpet tree. We live in Aline, California 30 miles east of San Diego. Little yellow and black flying bugs eat the leaves. Do you have a remedy for this problem.
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of wild plums (Prunus angustifolia)
July 28, 2008 - When I bought my land, there was a humongous thicket of wild plums (Prunus angustifolia) approx 10 ft high and covering 5-10 acres. I raise goats, and have known that wild plums (the leaves) can cause...
view the full question and answer

Campsis radicans or cow itch
April 03, 2008 - We cleaned my father-in-law's home-place up out in the country week-before-last. My wife, her 2 sisters and a niece have this unusual-looking poison on them. It is big red places and itches all ove...
view the full question and answer

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

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.