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
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

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

Can rose Zephirine Drouhin damage brick from Springfield IL
August 22, 2010 - Can ZÉPHIRINE DROUHIN damage brick?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Virginia creeper
September 02, 2008 - I have a large Virginia creeper plant approximately 15 feet in length. Is it possible to transplant the whole thing without killing it? If so how do I care for it after it has been moved? Thank yo...
view the full question and answer

Are Wandering Jew plants poisonous from Boca Raton FL?
September 21, 2010 - Are wandering jew plants poisonous? I'd like to put some in my pond which has goldfish in it. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Problem with Chinese Pistache tree
September 01, 2014 - We have a gorgeous Chinese Pistache in our yard, about 25 feet tall. We bought it for its gorgeous fall color. The problem is that it has never turned color for us. All the other pistaches in the neig...
view the full question and answer

Damage to ruellia in Monroe LA
October 26, 2009 - I have hundreds of Ruellia Brittoniana. Dwarf Katie White, Katie Blue and Katie Pink. I am finding holes in some of the leaves, Some just have notches chewed out of them. Some of the leaves have...
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