En Español

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?


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
3 ratings

Monday - June 09, 2008

From: Folwerville, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Are black walnut and sugar maple poisonous to alpacas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have alpacas and wonder if black walnut or sugar maple are poisonous to them.


The standard poisonous plants databases don't normally list alpacas in the animals that are considered, but there is a specific database, Plants that are Poisonous to Alpacas, that lists Juglans nigra (black walnut) and Acer rubrum (red maple) as toxic. Alpacanation.com also has lists for plants poisonous to alpacas.

From the standard poisonous plants databases, the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System says that black walnut (Juglans nigra) shavings used as a bedding for horses can cause laminitis. Other symptoms listed are ataxia, rapid breathing, depression, lethargy, and recumbency. The Indiana Plants Poisonous to Livestock and Pets database advises limiting access of horses to pastures with black walnut trees. The hulls of the fruits also cause gastric distress in dogs. 

Several poisonous plant databases list Acer rubrum (red maple), or Acer sp. (specifically the leaves) as being toxic to horses, causing hemolytic anemia. The symptoms include depression, weakness, anorexia, red or brown urine, yellow or brown mucous membranes. See the following databases:

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Texas Toxic Plant Database

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

There are no specific references to Acer saccharum (sugar maple), but the University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants database shows this warning:

"While there are no documented cases of other Acer sp. causing intoxication, they should be considered a potential problem until proven otherwise. Thus, access of horses to silver and sugar maples should be restricted."

Juglans nigra

Acer rubrum

Acer saccharum

Acer rubrum

Acer saccharum



More Poisonous Plants Questions

Is Sucissa pratensis (Devil's bit scabious) allelopathic?
July 04, 2013 - Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center pointed me to you. Can you comment on Devil's Bit Scabious? A neighbor pointed out these volunteer plants in my yard and wants me to kill them. He called them Devi...
view the full question and answer

Ingestion of agave sap from Albuquerque NM
June 11, 2013 - My boyfriend was out in the Arizona desert without water for two days and sought moisture through what he thought was a yucca plant but instead we believe was agave. He sucked the moisture off the ins...
view the full question and answer

Identification of possible toxic plant in Austin, TX
June 20, 2014 - When we hike with our dogs along Turkey Creek in Austin, they seem to make a bee line to a small green leafy plant when they find it along the trail and eat a few leaves of it. We assume it's not dan...
view the full question and answer

Is non-native mascagnia macroptera poisonous to animals from Hockley TX
February 17, 2014 - Is Mascagmia macroptra (Butterfly Vine) poisonous to animals (horses and dogs)?
view the full question and answer

Is Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine) known to cause skin irritation
July 23, 2013 - Is Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata L.) known to cause a rash? We are trying to identify the source of a rash-after-gardening, and have not seen any of the big three (poison ivy, poison oak, poison suma...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center