Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 10, 2009

From: Peoria, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Plant identification from Peoria IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I removed a plant from our workplace that employees were afraid was hallucinogenic seeds. Central Illinois. Very purple stem. Purple flowers. Black seeds. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

Usually, it is a difficult (if not impossible) task to identify a plant by description alone, but Mr. Smarty Plants is pretty sure you are describing Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed).  it is a pretty distinctive plant and certainly gets your attention with its red stem and large bunches of berries.  Birds love the berries, by the way.  If it turns out that this isn't your plant, please send us photos and we will do our best to identify it.  Visit Mr. Smarty Plants' Plant Identification page for instructions on submitting photos.

POISONOUS PARTS: All parts, mainly the roots; shoots, leaves, and berries when fresh and in quantity. Highly toxic, may be fatal if eaten. Toxic Principle: Phytolaccatoxin and related triterpene saponins, an alkaloid (phytolaccin), and histamines.


Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

 

 

 
 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Identification of plant with orange sap that glows at night
June 06, 2012 - I was just pulling up a plant and noticed that its sap was a kind of orange then I noticed it glowing orange at night. What kind of plant is this and is it dangerous?
view the full question and answer

Non-native vines poisonous to animals from Park Ridge IL
June 18, 2012 - I have a Star Jasmine and sambac Philipine Jasmine Plant . Are they poisonous to cats or dogs. I have them in the house.
view the full question and answer

Poison ivy? vine in NJ
July 30, 2012 - I have a vine growing among some vegetation in my backyard. It has a leaf with 3 "points" with ridges along its edges. The smaller leaves are reddish which is why I thought poison ivy but definite...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of Yucca leaves San Marcos, TX
August 19, 2009 - Can you tell me if Yucca constricta leaves are poisonous? I ran into one at night and the next morning had a hive-like, VERY itchy rash.
view the full question and answer

GMO/GE crops killing wildflowers and insects
October 31, 2008 - Hi, I've read where GMO/GE crops in other countries were killing the wildflowers and insects adjacent to those fields. Have you had any reports of this North America. Best regards.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.