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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - September 12, 2009

From: Wewoka, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Is conium maculatum safe for cataracts from Wewoka OK
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My doctor has prescribed conium maculatum for my cataract problems. Is this safe to use in the eyes?

ANSWER:

We are gardeners, not doctors, but we can tell you about the plant you are asking about. Conium maculatum is native to Africa, Asia and Europe and was imported into North America as an ornamental in the 1800's. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care, propagation and protection of plants native to North America and to the area in which it is being grown. Although that places the plant out of our range of expertise, this USDA Plant Profile shows it is growing, non-native,  in nearly every state in the United States and nearly every province in Canada.

But the main thing you need to know is that every part of this plant, especially the fresh leaves and fruit, contains a volatile, oily alkaloid, which is so poisonous that a few drops prove fatal to a small animal.

We urge you to visit a medical doctor, an ophthalmologist, and seek his opinion on any treatment of cataracts. Please do not touch, gather or use any portion of this plant. The common name of Comium maculatum is Poison Hemlock, and it is the poison that killed Socrates.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Non-native invasive henbit from Round Rock TX
April 27, 2013 - I've read in this book "Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants" that Henbit is an invasive plant in Texas. I've also read that it provides an early source of nectar to bees and butterflies when li...
view the full question and answer

A&M maroon bluebonnets for Hawaii
July 10, 2011 - My daughter graduated from Texas A&M and has moved to Hawaii. She would love to have the maroon bluebonnets developed by A&M to plant in her new home. How would she need to prepare the seeds since t...
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

Native vs. Invasive Experiment
July 01, 2008 - I asked you earlier about my group's experiment on native vs. invasive plants in Valdosta. Here are what we chose to work with..native: spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) and invasive: wild taro (Col...
view the full question and answer

Avoiding planting Indian Paintbrush in Hawaii because of invasiveness
March 01, 2007 - My daughter is living in Hilo, Hawaii. For her birthday, her boyfriend ordered her some Indian Paintbrush seeds. Trying to be sure she grows them correctly in a pot, she found instructions that say ...
view the full question and answer

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