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
7 ratings

Tuesday - May 05, 2009

From: Gause, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Is Texas ragwort (Senecio ampullaceus) toxic to livestock?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a question related to Texas Ragwort (Senecio ampullaceus): I am concerned about toxicity to livestock as well as interested in natural control methods. I was recently told that this particular plant is toxic to animals, and a cursory check seems to indicate that certian senecio's are toxic, but perhaps not Texas Ragwort. How do I identify the plants on my land to be Texas Ragwort and how do I control them naturally? Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

Toxic Plants of Texas lists Senecio ampullaceus (Texas ragwort) as being toxic with cattle dying from liver failure several months after eating the plants. This liver cirrhosis is typical of that produced by pyrrolizidine alkaloids.  Toxic Plants of Texas also lists Senecio flaccidus var. douglasii [syn. Senecio douglasii] (Douglas' ragwort), Senecio riddellii (Riddell's ragwort) and Packera glabella [syn. Senecio glabella] (butterweed) as toxic. Of these species, S. ampullaceus is the only one of the Senecios to occur in Milam County according to the USDA Plants Database.

Several other databases (Poisonous Plants of North Carolina, Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock, University of California-Davis Toxic Plants  and University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants) list all Senecio spp. as toxic and the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System lists several species of Senecio as being toxic. Not all the databases agree on the severity of the toxicity.  Given that all species of Senecio have some toxicity, it isn't really necessary to distinguish which one to control—you probably should endeavor to control any species of Senecio that you find in your pasture.  Management practices include providing plenty of hay or other feed so that cattle will not be tempted to eat the young ragwort plants.  Also, sheep, which are more tolerant of the toxins, can be used to clear the pasture of the plants.  Additionally, Toxic Plants of Texas suggests some herbicidal controls.


Senecio ampullaceus

Senecio ampullaceus

 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

How toxic are milkweed (Asclepias spp.)?
November 01, 2011 - We are considering a monarch waystation for our local elementary and are concerned about milkweed toxicity. Would it be safe to plant it in reach of children?
view the full question and answer

Rash resulting from cutting trees in NC.
May 08, 2012 - My boyfriend was cutting some trees yesterday. He had thorns in his hands after he was done, and today he has a rash on his legs, a fever and he feels like throwing up. Can you tell me if its symptoms...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of non-native red-tip photinia to fish from Friendswood TX
April 10, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have seen several questions on Red Tip Photinia (RTP) concerning toxicity to horses, dogs and children. We recently lost over 100 gold fish and 6 large KOI in our man made back ...
view the full question and answer

How toxic are wild cherries for horses?
June 11, 2009 - I purchased a beautiful piece of heaven in the rural suburbs. I have three horses and grow my own hay. Unfortunately, I have just learned the woods surrounding my field is lined with Black Walnut, Wil...
view the full question and answer

Non-toxic, non-invasive native flowers for horses
October 12, 2008 - Hi I have a couple areas in and bordering horse pastures that I would like to plant with native flowers. I can find lists of toxic flowers but not non toxic native ones. Id like non -toxic non-invas...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center