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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - March 23, 2009

From: pineville, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Can the buds and flowers from my Rhodendron tree be toxic to my puppy? Yes
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I recently got a new 7 week old puppy that keeps trying to play with and eat buds and flowers off my Rhododendron tree. Could this be toxic to him?

ANSWER:

Yes.

Rhododendron species (one native to the South is  Rhododendron maximum (great laurel) ) are members of the family Ericaceae, and many members of this genus contain the substance grayanotoxin which can be toxic to humans, dogs, and many other animals. Azaleas are also in this group of plants.

I've provided some sources that include lists of plants toxic to animals to let you know what else to watch out for.

The Texas Toxic Plant Database is a source that we often use, but unfortunately, it does't list Rhododendron as being toxic.

Universiy of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

The Humane Society of the United States

American Dog Trainers Network

 


 

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