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

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

Non-Toxic Hedge for Wisconsin
December 17, 2015 - What would be a good non-toxic for dogs, privacy hedge about 3-6 feet tall for Wisconsin climate zone 4b?
view the full question and answer

is the rainbow Eucalyptus poisonous to horses in FL?
May 24, 2011 - Is the Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree poisonous to horses?
view the full question and answer

Is purple grass poisonous if eaten by a dog?
June 04, 2009 - Is purple grass poisonous if eaten by a dog?
view the full question and answer

Is scarlet buckeye (Aesculus pavia) poisonous?
December 01, 2008 - Is a scarlet buckeye poisonous? Anna
view the full question and answer

Is Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) poisonous to pets? Probaly not.
September 08, 2008 - Is Spanish Moss poisonous to pets? I have a dog which will eat anything.
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