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
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

Are Chanticleer flowering pears toxic to horses?
March 28, 2010 - Are Chanticleer flowering pears toxic to horses?
view the full question and answer

Pool-Side Plants for Miami
April 02, 2015 - I am looking for plants, along the line of ti plant cordyline features, to plant around my chlorinated pool area with full South Miami sun. We have a dog therefore they must be non-toxic plants. The...
view the full question and answer

Skin irritation caused by blanket flower (Gaillardia sp.)
January 29, 2005 - Could you tell me whether it is the leaves or the spent flower heads, the seed heads, that cause irritation to bare legs after walking through a field of Indian Blankets? Gallardia I believe is the La...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for shade in Duval County, Florida
September 17, 2014 - What low growing ground cover would be good for a lake edge area. This area is shaded with overlying woodland type trees. I planted some autumn ferns but they have getting overrun with poison ivy. I a...
view the full question and answer

Toxic effect of mulberry fruits and sap
August 18, 2009 - What would be the toxic effect of the unripe fruit of the mulberry tree or the white sap?
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