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
3 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.


Asclepias incarnata

Asclepias tuberosa

Argemone mexicana

Euphorbia corollata

Taraxacum officinale

Lactuca graminifolia

Hieracium gronovii

 

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Need ground cover plants to grow in the shade a large oak in San Antonio, TX
March 09, 2015 - We have a large backyard in San Antonio covered with live oak and red oak. Since grass does not do well in this shade / bright shade area I would like to plant a low growing ground cover and then add...
view the full question and answer

Native, deer-resistant evergreen trees for Rhode Island
March 17, 2008 - What deer proof evergreens can I plant in RI that may make nice xmas trees in a few years?
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants from New Braunfels TX
August 31, 2012 - I have a 1/2 yard covered by a tree, shady. Bermuda grass previous owner planted has all turned brown this summer. I don't have lots of money to work with but would love to landscape that side of fr...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant groundcovers for erosion control
September 26, 2012 - I need a ground cover (vine??) that will help me with erosion on a sloped front yard. It gets about 6-8 hours of sun and my main need is for something that the rats in our neighborhood will not destro...
view the full question and answer

Deer--resistant plants for Great Falls, VA
August 16, 2010 - We have just moved to a house with a rural garden enjoyed by us and the deer. Can you recommend any deer resistant plants for ths location ? ( We have full sun and shade - zip code 22066. Thanks,
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