Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
2 ratings

Tuesday - December 23, 2008

From: Hopatcong, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Plants with latex-containing sap
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I was on a nature hike this past summer in Yosemite, and our Ranger guide told us about latex in the Milkweed and the Western Dogwood being a defense mechanism against browsing by deer. I'm a landscape architect and most of my work is in New Jersey. I'm wondering whether there is a list of native plants that produce latex. The deer problem has become severe in parts of the Northeast. The Milkweeds have been some of my favorite plants. I'd like to see if there are other plants that might have this latex based resistance to deer browsing. Life is good.

ANSWER:

Most members of Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family) and many in the Papaveraceae (Poppy family) have latex-containing sap, as well as members of the tribe Cichorieae of Asteraceae (Aster family)—notably Taraxacum spp. (dandelion), Lactuca spp. (lettuce), Agoseris spp. (false dandelion), Krigia spp. (dwarf dandelion), Sonchus spp. (sowthistle), Lygodesmia spp. (skeleton plant), Hieracium spp. (hawkweed).  Many plants in Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family)—in particular, all plants in the genus Euphorbia—contain latex sap.  One species in Euphorbiaceae, Hevea brasiliensis, a native of South America that has been introduced into the tropics around the world, is the source of natural rubber. You can use the "Narrow Your Search" option in the Native Plant Database to limit the members of these latex-sap containing families to species that occur in New Jersey.

We have a list of native  Deer Resistant Species.  Again, you can use the "Narrow Your Search" option to limit the selections to plants found in New Jersey.  Also, Rutgers University New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station has  a list of Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance.   Not all are native plants, of course, but you can check them against our Native Plant Database for their nativity.

 

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Native deer-resistant plants for Virginia
September 26, 2012 - I live in Roanoke/Salem Virginia and want to plant a few plants native to the area along the front yard rock wall. I would prefer they be the same, deer resistant, around 5-6 feet tall max and flower...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for New York to feed deer
January 02, 2010 - What native grasses do you recommend to encourage deer forage in feed plots?
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant low-lying plants for Michigan
May 13, 2009 - I want to create a bed of low lying plants (under 4 ft.)in the front of my cottage. The soil is completely sandy and gets eastern sun in the AM. There are many deer in the area.
view the full question and answer

Lupines for attracting deer in South Carolina
April 06, 2007 - I live in SC and was watching a TV show called "Making it Grow" and they did a segment on Lupine. The lady on the show said that the plant attracted whitetail deer and I was wondering if that was t...
view the full question and answer

Plant for deep shade in Pennsylvania
April 09, 2013 - Hi! I am landscaping our house and trying to use only plants that provide seasonal benefit to bees, butterflies, birds etc. not the deer though. My question is that I have a fairly steep slope of abou...
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.