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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 23, 2008

From: Paradise, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Plants to replace poison ivy and brush
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I am right next to a highway in Paradise, CA 95969. I am having brush and poison oak removed in that area and want to plant something fast growing and draught resistant. I am thinking about Oleanders, but I have 2 little dogs. I don't think they would bother the Oleanders though as they don't chew on much except grass. Any ideas?


Mr. Smarty Plants would not recommend oleanders (Nerium oleander) since they are not native to California or North America (native to the Mediterranean area and Asia) and what we are all about is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes." Also, as you probably know, all parts of the plant are highly toxic.

Here are some recommendations for native substitutes:

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon) and more photos and information

Frangula californica (syn. Rhamnus californica) (California buckthorn or coffeeberry) and photos and more information

Rhamnus crocea (redberry buckthorn) and more photos and information

You could also use one of the California manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp.)

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Rhamnus crocea

Arctostaphylos glandulosa

Arctostaphylos patula



More Poisonous Plants Questions

is the rainbow Eucalyptus poisonous to horses in FL?
May 24, 2011 - Is the Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree poisonous to horses?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of tree in North Carolina
September 07, 2011 - I live in North Carolina have found a tree on our property that has thorny branches and round fruit (perfectly round) with a fuzzy outer layer that starts out green but then turns yellow. The inside r...
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

What caused bump after walk in woods from Ontario
July 25, 2011 - I recently went for a walk in the woods near a stream. When I got to the river my leg had a little bump. It wasn't itching. I got home, it swelled even bigger. Can you tell me what plant I bumped int...
view the full question and answer

Is any part of Mountain Laurel poisonous to goats from Belton TX
May 02, 2013 - We are considering planting Mountain Laurel in a field where we keep goats. Will any part of the Mountain Laurel be poisonous if eaten by the goats? If it would be poisonous, could you suggest some o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center