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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.

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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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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!

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Sunday - October 26, 2008

From: Tehuacana, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Alpacas poisoned in pasture in Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Two of my alpacas were poisoned by something growing in two of my pastures. One of the suspects is cussus trifoliata, aka, cow itch vine, sorrelvine. I have searched diligently and can find no reference to this plant being toxic other than to cause itching. Is it possible an element of this vine could be toxic to camelids? The effects came within 24 hours of being let into the pastures and caused staggering, incoordination, trembling. The male was smaller and sicker. It took three injections from the vet and about two days before basic recovery. Any help or suggestions you can offer will be appreciated.

ANSWER:

You understand that safe fodder for alpacas is a little out of our area of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. However, it was addressed very well in a previous answer, which references two lists of plants poisonous to alpacas. Hopefully, from that you can discover what has caused your animals problems. Since we have no idea which, if any, of these plants are growing in your pasture, we will leave it to you to hopefully locate the culprit.
 

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