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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - September 30, 2008

From: Seven Valleys, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Toxic trees and shrubs in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a long property edge that I have been gradually transforming from a former cattle pasture into a hedgerow of native trees and shrubs. Cattle still graze on the other side. Are there any toxic central PA native shrubs/trees I should be avoiding?

ANSWER:

If you do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database, you can find a list of the native trees and/or shrubs of Pennsylvania by selecting Pennsylvania from the "Select State or Province" option and then choosing 'Tree' or 'Shrub' from the "Habit (general appearance)" option.  You can then search for the plant's botanical (Latin) name in the University of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants database.  For instance, the leaves of  Acer rubrum (red maple) are toxic to horses and the sprouts, leaves and seed of Aesculus spp. [Aesculus flava (yellow buckeye) and Aesculus glabra (Ohio buckeye)] are poisonous to livestock.  As well as the University of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants database, there are also the Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock, the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System, the Poisonous Plants of North Carolina and the Texas Toxic Plants databases that you can check your plants against.

 

 

 

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