En Español

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
4 ratings

Sunday - January 25, 2009

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Are Bradford pear fruits poisonous to dogs?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Are Bradford pear fruits poisonous to dogs?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants couldn't find any reference to Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford' (Bradford pear), or any Pyrus spp. for that matter, in most of our favorite poisonous plant databases:

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Universiy of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Texas Toxic Plant Database

However, one database, Toxic Plants, from University of California-Davis lists the seeds of Pyrus sp. as "Major Toxicity:  These plants may cause serious illness or death. If ingested, immediately call the Poison Control Center or your doctor."  American Dog Trainers Network also lists pear seeds on their Poisonous Substances list.  The Humane Society of the United States does not list pears or pear seeds in their list of Common Poisonous Plants, but they do list apple seeds. You can look for more reports of the toxicity of pears/pear seeds by Googling "dogs poisonous plants pears".

WrongDiagnois.com had this to say about poisoning by seeds of Pyrus communis (common pear):  "Pear seeds that are chewed to a very fine consistency or crushed first may result in the release of glycosides which can be turned into cyanide by stomach acids. Large quantities are required so the risk of even mild poisoning is very minute." 

Of course, you don't want potentially poisonous substances about for your dog(s) to eat, but you probably like your pear tree as well.  If this were a common pear with large fruits, you probably could get by just watching for the fruits to drop and removing them from the area.  However, since these fruits are so small, I would think it would be harder to pick up all fallen fruits and easier for a dog to crush the seeds if it decided to eat the fruits. Since the Bradford pear is non-native and considered invasive in some parts of North America, perhaps you could consider replacing it with a native ornamental flowering tree such as:

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud),

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood),

Cornus drummondii (roughleaf dogwood)

The sap of Cornus spp. is reported by Toxic Plants UC-Davis to possibly cause skin irritation. Cornus spp. weren't on any of the general or dog-specific sites listed above for dermatitis or any other toxicity and coming in contact with the sap is not too likely to occur with dogs.

Before you pick a new tree to replace your Bradford pear, check the toxic plant databases above before you buy.


Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Cornus florida

Cornus drummondii

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Replacement for grass under non-native weeping willow from Yorba Linda CA
April 24, 2012 - What would be a good replacement for the grass currently growing under a weeping willow? Something requiring low maintenance, the problem is with mowing over and around the roots.
view the full question and answer

What about Asian Jasmine and scrub oaks?
September 01, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have several clusters of native scrub oaks in my yard. I planted Asian jasmine under them many years ago. The trees look fine, but an arborist has told me that the Asian ...
view the full question and answer

Blackeyed Susans becoming invasive in Fredericksburg VA
August 10, 2009 - Are the roots of the Blackeyed Susan (BES) invasive enough to actually destroy bulbs. BES have moved into a bed exactly where my oriental lilies were..this year the whole row of red lilies (which had...
view the full question and answer

Have invasive plants no useful purpose from Anchorage AK
September 03, 2011 - Does the definition of invasive plants include that the plant has no useful purpose? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Non-flowering mimosas in Texas
July 08, 2008 - I have two mimosa trees, about 3 years old. Both were grown from volunteer seedlings. Neither have flowers nor have they produced seed pods. Are they too young or do they need a source of pollenation...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center