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Tuesday - May 05, 2009

From: Incline Village, NV
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Laws pertaining to sale of poisonous plants
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Barbara Medford


Are there any laws pertaining to the sale of poisonous plants. do they have to be labeled as poisonous by law?


As far as Mr. Smarty Plants knows, there aren't any laws pertaining to the sale of poisonous plants.  There are laws regarding noxious/invasive plants in several states.  For example, there is a Texas law prohibiting possession of certain nonindigenous aquatic plant species and you can see other Laws and Regulations pertaining to invasive species from the USDA National Invasive Species Information Center.

There are lots of poisonous plants for sale in every state.  For instance, Nerium oleander (oleander) is potentially deadly poisonous but your own University of Nevada Reno Cooperative Extension office recommends it as "A Versatile Shrub for Southern Nevada".   Indeed, our favorite toxic plant databases (Poisonous Plants of North Carolina, Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock, Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System, University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants, Texas Toxic Plant Database, or University of California-Davis Toxic Plants) are filled with plants, both native and non-native, that are considered toxic to some degree and are commonly sold in nurseries—for example, azaleas (Rhododendron spp.), monkshood (Aconitum spp.), and Prunus spp. (including plums, peaches, apricot, cherries, chokecherries, etc.) whose seeds, twigs and wilted leaves are toxic.  If there were laws prohibiting the sale of poisonous plants, there wouldn't be much left to sell in the nurseries. 

There are laws prohibiting the sale and propagation of some plants that are listed in the toxic plant databases, (e.g., Cannabis sativa (marijuana)), but that's a different story.





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