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

Sunday - October 12, 2008

From: Butler, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Non-toxic, non-invasive native flowers for horses
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Hi I have a couple areas in and bordering horse pastures that I would like to plant with native flowers. I can find lists of toxic flowers but not non toxic native ones. Id like non -toxic non-invasive native flowers does such a list exist?. In particular are the hyssops toxic to horses. Thanks


As far as I know, there are no lists that contain only non-toxic, non-invasive native plants; but, as you say, there are lists of toxic plants.  Here are several toxic plant databases:

Universtiy of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants Database

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University's Plants Poisonous to Livestock and other Animals

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Texas Toxic Plant Database

In the five toxic databases above, I could find no listing of any species that has the common name of hyssop (Genus AgastacheGenus Bacopa or Genus Gatriola).  So—even though absence from a list is not a guarantee that a species has no toxicity, absence from 5 different lists makes a better case that the plant is not toxic.

Now, for other flowers you might like to plant there, you can check on the five lists above for their toxicity.  I suggest that you look them up under their scientific names rather than by their common names since the scientific names are generally standard no matter where you live.  If you visit our Recommended Species page and select 'Pennsylvania' from the map there, you will bring up a list of commercially-available native plants recommended for Pennsylvania.  You can also find a "Roadside Use of Native Plants" list for Pennsylvania from the US Dept. of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.









More Poisonous Plants Questions

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 it possible to eat one nightshade berry and live?
September 16, 2012 - Can I eat one nightshade berry and live? I am 18.
view the full question and answer

Are Viguiera dentate leaves toxic to dogs?
November 26, 2014 - Many dogs on the Turkey Creek Nature Trail in Emma Long Metropolitan Park love to snack on the leaves of the Viguiera Dentata plants. The leaves SEEM to be harmless. I am writing to request informat...
view the full question and answer

Curing plant rash
September 02, 2008 - I went walking in the woods a few weeks ago, and my leg swiped some kind of cactus or something. It scratched me up and I had to remove little white spines with tweezers. I developed an intensely itch...
view the full question and answer

Laws pertaining to sale of poisonous plants
May 05, 2009 - Are there any laws pertaining to the sale of poisonous plants. do they have to be labeled as poisonous by law?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center