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

Tuesday - August 04, 2009

From: Lighthouse Point, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pests
Title: Problems with iguanas in Ft. Lauderdale FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live on the intracoastal waterway near Ft. Lauderdale,FL and I am having problems with iguana. They will not eat lantana or buttercups; however is there a poisonous ground cover, preferable with flowers, that I could utilize to surround the base of my royal palm trees? Iguanas are everywhere and costing me $$$$.

ANSWER:

Okay, first we need to apologize for what we were thinking. We thought iguanas were natives of the Caribbean, South and Central America and what were they doing in Florida, anyway? Turns out they are, indeed, a very large problem in South Florida, but pretty well confined to there by the fact that they cannot withstand freezing weather. The iguanas that are terrorizing some neighborhoods are escaped or abandoned pets, and can truly be vicious and dangerous to pets and children as well as vegetation.  And we thought Florida had big problems with invasive plants, but never considered invasive lizards! Iguanas are omnivorous, eating not only plant material but also insects, occasionally small rodents, and are known to be carriers of salmonella. All very good reasons to not feed them or try to adopt them.

However, we don't recommend poisonous plants because a child or pet could just as easily come along and nibble on those plants as the iguanas. Also, we are gardeners, not zoologists, and specialize in plants native to North America and to the area in which the plants are being grown. Reptiles are way out of our line of expertise.  We know about rattlesnakes, but we try to avoid socializing with them. So, we are going to list some websites, from which we have learned a great deal, that might give you some help. 

University of Florida IFAS Extension Dealing with iguanas in the South Florida landscape

TampaBay.com Florida's iguana infestation

Green Iguana Society Feral Iguanas in Florida

Florida Museum of Natural History Study sheds light on invasive iguana's big appetite

UPI.com Man wants iguana on Florida menus

 

 

More Pests Questions

Small tan balls on oak from Pipe Creek TX
May 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, our spanish oak is growing tan colored lumpy balls about the size and weight of a marshmallow..sometimes just one at the end of a short stem and sometimes 2-3 clumped together....
view the full question and answer

Black Sap from Live Oak in Austin, Texas
April 20, 2015 - We live in South Austin and our neighbor has several beautiful, enormous Live Oak trees whose canopies hang over into our yard. This past week, they've begun dripping some sort of black sap all over ...
view the full question and answer

What insect eats Alamo Fire blue bonnets from League City TX
June 10, 2013 - What insect eats Alamo Fire blue bonnets? Something seems to be eating new seedpods.
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of lantanas in San Antonio
July 22, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, We have lantanas in our front yard. This summer the leaves have turned white and they die to a brown color all the while the leaves are "crispy". At the beginning of the season...
view the full question and answer

Webs on limbs of evergreen sumac from Austin
May 13, 2014 - We have a mature Evergreen Sumac (Rhus virens) that has spider webs on the end of some limbs. The end of the those limbs have died although new growth is coming on further up the limb. We live in th...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center