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
1 rating

Monday - August 31, 2009

From: Aguanga, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Native plants and possible poisonous plants in Aguanga, California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am in the process of moving to Aguanga California. I am interested in knowing what the native plants are in that area. Are they poison to animals and kids?

ANSWER:

Our Native Plant Database, a work in progress, doesn't yet contain all the native plants that occur in California, but you can find a list of 2,389 native California plants listed there.  Since California is such a large state with many different climates and terrains, those more than 2000 plants won't occur in all of California.  We can narrow the list down for southern California plants by looking at a list of commerically available native plants suitable for landscaping in our California-Southern Recommended list.  This doesn't by any means give you all the plants native to southern California, but it does contain many of the most common ones. 

Now for the poisonous native plants in southern California I actually found a couple of lists.  One list by Owen E. Dell, The Big Ten: Southern California Plants Seriously Poisonous to Humans, as its name suggests lists ten highly toxic plants. Only one of these, however, Toxicodendron diversilobum (Pacific poison oak), is native to southern California and North America.  You certainly would want to recognize those nine other toxic plants so I suggest that you do an internet search on each of them using their scientific name to see photos and read more about them.  Another list (also by Owen E. Dell), Poisonous Plants Commonly Occurring in Southern California, is a more extensive list that includes plants with various degrees of toxicity—some mild and some severe.  This list does contain many plants native to southern California that you can find by searching in our Native Plant Database.  There is also a small book, Poisonous plants of southern California, published in 1998 by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation that should be available in a nearby library or is possibly still in print.

 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Plant identification of tree in North Carolina
September 07, 2011 - I live in North Carolina have found a tree on our property that has thorny branches and round fruit (perfectly round) with a fuzzy outer layer that starts out green but then turns yellow. The inside r...
view the full question and answer

Different colors of Argemone spp. from McAllen TX
March 16, 2014 - I took pictures of at least 5 colors of pricklepoppy today. Is this common to have so many colors in one area? How do I harvest the seedpods and when is the best time to do so?
view the full question and answer

Is resurrection plant (Selaginella lepidophylla) toxic?
February 14, 2009 - Is Resurrection plant (Selaginella lepidophylla)toxic? Is it safe for children to handle?
view the full question and answer

Petals of flowers on cake from London
August 28, 2010 - Hi could you please confirm whether it is safe to position an amaryllis on top of a fresh cream cake (it will not be eaten, nor will the stem touch the cream, it will be positioned in a non toxic vial...
view the full question and answer

Thorn in the hand in Benton KY
June 14, 2010 - My husband got stuck by a thorn on a thorn bush and the thorn was a goldish copper color. There is a knot on his hand and pain in his fingers to his elbow. Do you know what kind of bush this could b...
view the full question and answer

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