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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - February 25, 2009

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Cake decorations with flowers
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can I decorate a cake with bluebonnets, lavender or mountain laurel blooms?

ANSWER:

Could you put blossoms of any of these flowers right down on the icing, perhaps even offering them as edible decorations? No, we wouldn't recommend it. Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) is only available for a short time in the year, and the blossoms would probably fall apart if you tried to separate them into individual pieces for your decorations. And we're not sure the blossoms would survive being washed. Lavender (lavandula) is native to the Meditteranean area, and not to North America. We know that it is sometimes used in cooking, although not really considered one of the culinary herbs.  Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) is not only considered to have some toxicity in all parts of the plant, but the bright red berries are extremely poisonous. We would certainly hesitate to have the blooms of such a plant even in a bouquet in water nearby where it might be tasted by a child. 

In short, rather than attempt to use fragile blooms as a baking decoration, we would recommend a piped-on picture in colored icing, and leave the flowers blooming on the plants where they belong. 


Sophora secundiflora

Lupinus texensis

 

 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Precautions to take with Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum
September 13, 2009 - Are there precautions to take, such as wearing gloves while separating the seeds from the Jack In The Pulpit berries. The photos I have seen have gloved hands. I've read that the plant is toxic if in...
view the full question and answer

Plants causing skin irritation in West Bend WI
May 26, 2011 - Is there a list of plants that cause blistering in this area? I have a friend who gets it bad every year-I find no evidence of cow parsnip or poison ivy---thanks.
view the full question and answer

Jimsonweed and its toxic nature
June 21, 2011 - I purchased a Jimson weed plant at a local plant sale at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center this spring and was quite surprised at how quickly & large it grew. After the first round of flowers fa...
view the full question and answer

Is the Magnolia 'Ann' safe for horses
May 14, 2010 - I bought a magnolia "ann". Will it hurt my horses to eat any part of it?
view the full question and answer

Topical treatment for poison ivy rash
November 12, 2008 - I would like to know a topical treatment for the poison ivy rash
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center