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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - February 24, 2009

From: Conroe, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Ferns
Title: Are philodendrons, variegated ginger, sword ferns and palms toxic to horses?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Are philodendrons, variegated ginger, sword ferns and palms toxic to horses?

ANSWER:

Several of the plants you mention are non-native species, and therefore are out of the realm of expertise of the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. However, Mr. Smarty Plants will provide you with some information that will help answer your question.

Philodendron is a genus that is found in the tropical Americas and the West Indies, and has species that are generally considered toxic to humans and animals due to the oxalic acid crystals in the leaves.

Variegated ginger, Alpinia zerumbet  is a native of India, but the species has been naturalized in Brazil. It is also found in some areas of central and south Florida.

There are two ferns that are called sword ferns; Polystichum munitum (western swordfern) and Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston swordfern.  Polystichum is native west of the Cascades in Washington, and Nephrolepsis is native to Florida.

The term palms is generally used to describe plants in the family Arecaceae. Two palms that occor in south Texas are Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto) and  Sabal mexicana (Rio Grande palmetto).  However, some other species have been introduced.

Now that you have the scientific names of the plants, you can check out their toxicity for horses using the databases below.

Texas Toxic Plant Database

ASPCA

Equisearch.com

Cornell University's Plants Poisonous to Livestock and other Animals

Poisonous Plants of the Southern United States

Ohio State University Extension

 


 


 

More Ferns Questions

Fertilizer for Maidenhair Fern in Bay Point CA
October 05, 2009 - Is it possible to feed a Maidenhair Fern the same plant food as a African Violet? I use Schultz African Violet Plus.
view the full question and answer

Erosion controlling plants for a shady Minnesota lakeside
August 11, 2015 - I live about 50 yards from a lake and there is a steep embankment. Recently someone decided to cut the trees off the embankment and now the dirt is eroding off the embankment as well as off my back ya...
view the full question and answer

Native container plants from Hillsdale NJ
March 22, 2013 - Looking for suggestions for the easiest natives to grow in containers.
view the full question and answer

Texas native plants for cemetery site
February 09, 2005 - I am trying to landscape my mothers gravesite located in far East Texas (just outside of Nacogdoches) and I am looking for some evergreen bushes or any other decorative plants for that area. I am thi...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for Arlington TX
February 10, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I just moved to Arlington, TX. I am trying to create a container garden on my apartment balcony. What flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit combinations can I put together that wil...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center