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

Friday - July 17, 2009

From: Boerne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Is Desert willow poisonous to horses in Boerne TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have just purchased Bubba Desert Willows and have horses. Will they eat them, do you know and if so will they be harmed? Thanks

ANSWER:

We are assuming that the "Bubba" is a name given to  Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) by a nursery retailer. This USDA Plant Profile shows that it is native in the area of Kendall County, and will probably do fine in Boerne. We don't know if horses will eat them; we do know that the horse is a herbivore and a grazing animal. Mostly they eat grass and hay, which is dried grass. Given their size, horses have small stomachs designed to process small amounts of food continuously. Horses will also eat stray foliage, like leaves and branches. So, this probably means they would eat the desert willow, if it was available, and it might not hurt the horse, but it would sure mess up those beautiful blooms on the plant. Given the choice, we would separate horses and desert willows, for the sake of the plants. 

We have checked all of the poison plant databases listed below, and none of them list Chilopsis linearis (desert willow).

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

Toxic Plants of Texas 

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Horse Nutrition: Poisonous Plants from Ohio State University

10 Most Poisonous Plants for Horses from EquiSearch.com

Poisonous Plants from Trailblazer Magazine

Toxic Plants: Horses from the ASPCA

Because the desert willow does not appear on any of these lists does not guarantee it not to harm horses, but it reduces the possibility. 


Chilopsis linearis

Chilopsis linearis

Chilopsis linearis

Chilopsis linearis

 

 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Plants causing skin irritation in West Bend WI
May 26, 2011 - Is there a list of plants that cause blistering in this area? I have a friend who gets it bad every year-I find no evidence of cow parsnip or poison ivy---thanks.
view the full question and answer

Beneficial characteristics of Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed)
May 21, 2013 - I have a surprise Polk weed plant growing in my back yard, does it have any beneficial uses,and if not, how best to eradicate it. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Native Plants Toxic to Dogs?
April 22, 2014 - Are society garlic, Salvia greggii, black escarpment cherries, and wine cup wildflowers toxic to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Privacy shrubs and trees that are safe for horses in California
June 16, 2012 - What type of privacy shrubs/trees can I plant that are safe around horses? I live in the central valley in CA. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Vines for fence, safe for horses in California
December 12, 2013 - I live in a fire prone part of Orange County, CA named Silverado and own horses. Am interested in fast growing vines to cover a fenced area which are horse safe. Thank you.
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center