Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Thursday - April 23, 2009

From: Lebanon, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Toxicity of non-native Royal Empress tree
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We want to plant some fast-growing trees for shade for my horses. My friend wants to use Royal Empress trees. Can you tell me if these are toxic to horses (and also goats)? I have a lot of clay in the soil on my property.

ANSWER:

The first thing we want to do is urge you NOT to plant the Royal Empress tree, for reasons you will learn from this Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Working Group website on Paulownia tomentosa. It is a native of western and central China, and can quickly become invasive, crowding out or destroying more desirable native plants. As in the case in other fast-growing trees, it is a weak tree and not long-lived. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we recommend only plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. Plants native to an area will be adapted to the climate, rainfall and soils, and require less fertilizer, water and maintenance.

Now, for what plants are poisonous to horses, excerpted from a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer:

Answer: First of all, Mr. Smarty Plants wants to refer you to some plants to AVOID for your horses.  Please see the lists from the following sources:

10 Most Poisonous Plants for Horses from EquiSearch.com

Poisonous Plants from Trailblazer Magazine

Toxic Plants: Horses from the ASPCA

Horse Nutrition: Poisonous Plants from Ohio State University

Next, Mr. Smarty Plants refers you to our Recommended Species page to find native plants that are commerically available in Indiana.  You can select 'Indiana' from the map or pulldown menu and then NARROW YOUR SEARCH by selecting 'Tree' from the Habit (general appearance) option.

You might also check for recommended species near your area (Boone County) on the Indiana Native Plant Society website.

Finally, Mr. Smarty Plants refers you to some toxic plant databases that you can check for the plants you like.  These would be:  Poisonous Plants of North Carolina, Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock, Texas Toxic Plant Database, and University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants.  When you find a tree that you would like to plant in your pasture, you can compare it with these lists to see if it is safe for your horses.  From the Indiana Recommended species list mentioned above, Mr. Smarty Plants has chosen several species and checked them against the toxic plant databases.  These species are:

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)

Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Smarty Plants on Kokias
January 27, 2005 - I am searching for seeds of different Kokias (Kokia cookei, K. drynariodes and K. kauaiensis) and Thespesias (Thespesia grandiflora, T. thespesioides, T. nerifolia and T. popul...
view the full question and answer

Flowering problems with Mexican Plum and Mimosa in Austin, TX
March 18, 2010 - Greetings, My Prunus mexicana (Mexican Plum) did not produce flowers before its leaves. Can you tell me why? I was hoping to have some fruit this year. Also, as of this morning March 13. My...
view the full question and answer

Information on non-native caladiums from Austin
June 21, 2012 - Have you a leaflet on growing caladiums in the Austin area?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
July 10, 2011 - I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
view the full question and answer

Ridding property of Dichelostemma Firecracker Plant from Cleburne TX
April 11, 2012 - How do we get rid of Dichelostemma-Firecracker plant? It has invaded our yard & we hate it! How do we kill it?
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.