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

Ants in vegetable garden in Muskogee OK
May 25, 2011 - I have ants in my vegetable garden this spring - I think because of all the rain. I think they are the culprits that ruined my spinach and swiss chard. They have left all the lettuces alone..but you...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native closet plant
November 23, 2008 - I have three closet plants. All are putting on new growth and even blooming. However, the leaves are turning brown from the edges. What is the problem?
view the full question and answer

Dog-proof grass from The Woodlands TX
April 26, 2013 - I am looking for a hardy grass that can tolerate female dogs urine. Zoysia was suggested but I am concerned about it being invasive. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Nativity of Myrospermum sousanum
June 13, 2007 - I bought a Myrospermum sousanum (Arroyo Sweetwood) at the Antique Rose Emporium in San Antonio. I see where it is listed as a Texas native on several web sites, but I could not find a reference on the...
view the full question and answer

Tree with taproot for Jodhpur India
July 05, 2013 - I am a resident of India. I need information of a tree with tap roots to grow in my backyard. We have moderate to hot climate here. It needs to be as small as possible due to lack of space. It'd be g...
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