En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Smarty Plants on Texas cherry tomato
April 24, 2005 - We just bought 2 Texas cherry tomato plants at the plant sale. We have to container garden in a walled courtyard due to deer. (Would deer be attracted to the plants in a garden with herbs and high de...
view the full question and answer

Can oleander poison the ground below it?
June 29, 2013 - Can oleander poison the ground below it? Would it kill/damage grass or other plants below it? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Wildlife garden for Austin
May 19, 2013 - I am trying to make my backyard more wildlife friendly. I have pecan trees for the canopy and some understory shrub/trees like rough leaf dogwood and redbud. I am having a really hard time finding sui...
view the full question and answer

Is non-native Tillandsia air plant poisonous to cats?
June 07, 2010 - Are Tillandsia/air plants poisonous to cats? Please help!
view the full question and answer

Bugbane Leaf Blotch
January 24, 2013 - My bugbanes (Cimicifuga/Actaea) seem to suffer from black blotches on the leaves in the summer. This happens even when they have adequate moisture. I also see it on the ones growing wild. Is this a fu...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center