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
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

Wisteria and Non-Poisonous Native Vines
February 15, 2012 - I'm from central Texas and I'm wanting to plant a native vine that will work well around the public, mainly kids. It's a mostly sunny trellis that makes an arch. I'd like to plant the native Wiste...
view the full question and answer

Are bald cypress cones toxic to dogs?
October 27, 2013 - Are bald cypress tree seed pods poisonous? to dogs? We just got a rescue dog and we go out in the yard with her. But now that we are into fall and the pods are falling. She goes right to them. Are...
view the full question and answer

Are palm leaves poisonous?
August 18, 2008 - Are palm tree leaves poisionous? Because my dad was doing yard work and was stuck by a palm tree leaf in his calf. His calf has swollen and in he thinks it broke off in his calf.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen pet-safe shrubs for house and screening in McKinney TX
April 15, 2010 - Looking for shrub, preferably evergreen, to plant near the house that can handle wet ground and is pet (dog, cat, horse) safe. The area became boggy after we had an underground water leak that is now ...
view the full question and answer

Laws pertaining to sale of poisonous plants
May 05, 2009 - Are there any laws pertaining to the sale of poisonous plants. do they have to be labeled as poisonous by law?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center