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

Monday - September 14, 2009

From: Riverside, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Is the non-native California pepper tree (Schinus molle) toxic for horses?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is it safe and a good idea to put a horse corral around an established California pepper tree? Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants

ANSWER:

Schinus molle (California pepper tree), despite its common name, is native to Peru and not California nor North America.  We, at the Wildflower Center, are dedicated to studying, preserving and promoting plants native to North America so this plant is really not in our purview.  We can offer you some reliable sources for determining if this tree is toxic to livestock, however.  First, all parts of the tree have been used traditionally in herbal medicine. However, Poisonous Plants Commonly Ocurring in Southern California by Owen E. Dell does list Schinus molle. The Toxic Plants list from the University of California-Davis and the Botanical Dermatology Database (BoDD) both say that California pepper tree causes dermatitis. The BoDD also says that the ingested fruits can cause gastro-intestinal inflammation and hemorrhoids and the Biodiversity Explorer says:  "Fruit are used for producing red pepper but can be toxic if eaten in quantity."  There are other references that also say the red fruits are toxic if eaten in quantity; so, it would seem that at the very least it would be a good idea to remove as many as possible of the seeds from the tree and of those that have fallen to the ground underneath it to keep the horse from having access to them in large quantities.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Source for non-native Crown of Thorns from Bulverde TX
May 04, 2013 - Can you please tell me where I can buy a Crown of Thorns plant in or near Bulverde, Tx.
view the full question and answer

Wrapping a newly planted non-native Japanese maple from Fraser MI
October 01, 2013 - Does a newly planted Japanese maple need to be wrapped in burlap for the cold and snowy winter of Macomb County, Michigan?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Japanese red maple exposed to full sun
August 16, 2008 - I planted a Dwarf Japanese Red Maple tree about 3 yrs ago. Until about a month ago it was partially shaded by a massive chestnut tree, that has since been cut down. Now the new growth on my tree appea...
view the full question and answer

Color in non-native portulaca from Beach Haven NJ
July 21, 2011 - I bought a portulaca in a hanging basket and divided it up and planted it in my garden. It is doing ok..but I have almost entirely orange flowers..maybe two reds. I was hoping for multi-colored..red...
view the full question and answer

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
July 02, 2014 - Foxglove (digitalis purpurea) is not a native U.S. plant. It was introduced to the U.S. from Europe and is now considered invasive in many parts of the western U.S. It invades our forested wild land...
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