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
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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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 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

GMO/GE crops killing wildflowers and insects
October 31, 2008 - Hi, I've read where GMO/GE crops in other countries were killing the wildflowers and insects adjacent to those fields. Have you had any reports of this North America. Best regards.
view the full question and answer

Is Clethra alnifolia toxic to dogs?
June 01, 2013 - Is Clethra alnifolia toxic to dogs?
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

Are Cleveland Pear trees in Georgia toxic to horses and/ or dogs?
June 02, 2009 - Are flowering Cleveland Pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) poisonous to horses and/or dogs? I have read that the prunus species are, does that include pear trees? Please help!
view the full question and answer

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