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
1 rating

Tuesday - June 02, 2009

From: Americus, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Are Cleveland Pear trees in Georgia toxic to horses and/ or dogs?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Are flowering Cleveland Pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) poisonous to horses and/or dogs? I have read that the prunus species are, does that include pear trees? Please help!

ANSWER:

It is true that members of the genus Prunus (Plums, Peaches, Apricots, and Cherries) can be toxic. The toxic compounds are cyanogenic glycosides (chemicals that are converted to cyanide or prussic acid when eaten). The compounds are mostly in the leaves and in the seed. Apples (genus Malus) also contain these compounds, but  I had not seen pears (genus Pyrus) being  listed as containing the glycosides until i saw this article from the Kitsap Conservation District in Washington state. The compounds are more concentrated in wilted leaves than in fresh leaves.

I have included a list of databases of toxic plants that will allow you to learn what other plants to look out for.

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

Universtiy of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants Database

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Texas Toxic Plant Database

Additionally, here are databases that are specific for plants poisonous to horses.

Equisearch.com

ASPCA

Ohio State University

To search the lists, I recommend using the scientific name since those names are generally standard, whereas the common names often vary in spelling and usage. 

Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown, I would be remiss not to point out that Pyrus calleryana is a non-native plant (introduced from Asia) and is considered an invasive species in some parts of the country.

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Could ammonia harm poisonous, non-native oleander in Bay Point CA
December 20, 2009 - Could ammonia harm my Oleander plant? I have been spraying ammonia under it to keep neighborhood cats from using the soil under the plant as a sand box. If so, do you have any suggestions as to what...
view the full question and answer

Is Phyla lanceolata (frogfruit) poisonous to dogs fromTitusville FL?
June 01, 2014 - Is Phyla lanceolata, also called Fogfruit, Lanceleaf Fogfruit, or Northern Fogfruit, toxic to dogs? We have it growing amongst our grass. I can't find it on any toxic plant list.
view the full question and answer

Dog Friendly Privacy Hedge for Long Island
April 14, 2013 - Can you please advise me of some plants for a privacy hedge that are non-toxic to dogs and that would thrive on Long Island, NY? I am looking for a hedge to grow to about 6-8 ft.
view the full question and answer

Allergy-causing plant in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area
March 17, 2011 - Do you know what is growing (or floating in the air) in the DFW metroplex now, but not growing or floating the rest of the year? I have a 3 year old that has gotten extremely itchy this time of the ...
view the full question and answer

Source for a soapberry in Pittsburgh PA
June 22, 2013 - Flower box Where can I buy a soapberry tree in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania?
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