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
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

Suggestions for Texas native plants for memorial
June 30, 2005 - A dear friend of ours has passed and we would like some ideas of a native Texas plant we could plant in memory of her. It will be grown in the hill region near Houston. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Plants wilting too quickly in Toledo OH
May 27, 2012 - The garden I have had recent issues with plants wilting all too quickly. I would like to know what types of plants would be hearty for the climate in Toledo, Ohio. I have a partly sunny front yard and...
view the full question and answer

Winter hardy fern for northeast Texas
May 20, 2009 - I am looking for a winter hardy fern to grown around my deck. The area would get some morning sun but afternoon shade. What do you suggest?
view the full question and answer

Crows foot plant for Christmas wreaths from Millsboro DE
November 04, 2012 - I am looking for a plant called crows foot to make wreaths for Christmas. Where do I find this plant.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from Virginia
May 03, 2012 - We found lots of asparagus like stalks growing randomly in our field here in central Virginia. But, instead of an asparagus head it has a tight cluster of leaves that are small and roundish. Any idea...
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.