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?

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
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

Tuesday - October 21, 2008

From: Folsom, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Medicinal Plants
Title: Yucca plant for horse joint problems
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

is the yucca plant the same as what the joint medication is made of to give to older horses for the joints, and if so, can a plant be nibbled on when it grows in the pasture?

ANSWER:

The information I have been able to find indicates that the effective compounds in yucca that aid in relieving inflamatory problems in horses (and pets, in general) are steroidal saponins.  It is used orally and topically and apparently was used by native Americans.  However, I could find no indication of what species they are using, nor how they extract the saponins from the yucca. Your best bet for finding out the species of yucca used for the supplement is to contact one of the makers of the medication and ask them which species.  Better yet, why not contact your veterinarian to ask about the efficacy of these supplements.  

Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) is apparently the only yucca that grows in New Jersey.  Whether your horse will nibble on it in the pasture is something Mr. Smarty Plants doesn't know.  Certainly deer like the blossoms of the yucca plants, but I've never seen them actually nibble on the leaves.  It should be safe to do so, however, since none of the yuccas appear in any of Mr. Smarty Plants' favorite toxic plant databases listed below.

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 and Texas Toxic Plant Database.

Additionally, here are several databases that list plants, native and otherwise, that should not be included in areas with horses: 

10 Most Poisonous Plants for Horses from EquiSearch.com

Poisonous Plants from Trailblazer Magazine

Toxic Plants:  Horses from the ASPCA

Horse Nutrition:  Poisonous Plants from Ohio State University

 

More Medicinal Plants Questions

Medicinal uses of Orange jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
August 28, 2005 - What is the best way to extract the juice from the jewelweed plant? And, what can you do with it after that? I know it is considered a remedy for poison ivy and various other skin irritations. So then...
view the full question and answer

Medicinal Yerba de la Negrita (Sphaeralcea coccinea)
June 24, 2009 - When I make my own batch of Yerba de la Negrita how long will it keep in the refrigerator?
view the full question and answer

Plants good for repelling bugs in Austin, TX
April 18, 2007 - I need help on what type of plants or herbs are good for keeping bugs away from the house and also something that would be good for in the house for bugs?
view the full question and answer

Treating stings from stinging nettles in Indiana
August 08, 2009 - How can I remove hairlike thorns (as from nettle-type weed)? My hands react within 24 hours with swelling and pain, esp in morning. In past when I have then been able to locate the offending thorn, th...
view the full question and answer

Shrub with thorns, black fruit and citrus fragrance in Michigan
September 19, 2014 - I'm not sure that my plant is a native, but I'm hoping to find some answer. There is a small patch of roadside shrubs on my property which I've been unable to identify. They have simple opposite ...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center