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?


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

Friday - September 25, 2009

From: Kansas City, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Are freshwater sponges poisonous if eaten by a dog?
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Are freshwater sponges, native to Missouri, poisonous if eaten by a dog?


Mr. Smarty Plants expertise is in native plants, not native animals.  It is true that freshwater sponges can look like plants because they often have algae growing on them, making them green.  In fact, sponges were thought to be plants until the 19th century.  Sponges, however, aren't plants—they are animals, members of the Kingdom Animalia and Phylum Porifera.  You can read about freshwater sponges in A Field Guide to Aquatic Phenomena from the University of Maine and from the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (Illinois). As to whether they are toxic to dogs are any other animal, not too much is known about their toxicity.  Principles and Methods of Toxicology edited by Andrew Wallace Hayes (5th edition, CRC Press, 2007) says that a couple of freshwater sponges from Australia and Europe can cause skin irritations and even more serious symptoms, including death. You might try to identify your freshwater sponge and then search the internet for any toxicity associated with its particular species.



More General Botany Questions

Use of the word annual
May 27, 2015 - Why is the word 'annual' used to describe plants with one grow season, when in all other cases it's used to describe things that reoccur year after year? i.e. Events, celebration, salary?
view the full question and answer

Liquid glucose as substitute for sunlight from New York City
December 16, 2012 - I am curious to find out whether liquid glucose can be poured as water for mung bean plants as substitute for no sunlight. Is the possible? Will a specific amount of glucose need to be used? Can liqui...
view the full question and answer

Question about male muscadine plants
June 01, 2012 - I have 9 muscadine plants, 3 females and 6 perfect flowered growing in my yard. A plant started growing under my porch lst year and it grew through the spaces between the boards. It grew nicely. It fl...
view the full question and answer

White and red Turk's cap and possible crossing
September 18, 2013 - I have had some white Turk's cap for several years. This year, some red Turk's cap has appeared among it. I have the red in another location. Will the red become dominant if I leave it among the whi...
view the full question and answer

What is a Demaree Rose?
August 14, 2013 - Have been told the Apache Plume is the Wild Rose after which the Wild Rose Pass north of Ft. Davis was named. However, other research indicates it was the Demaree Rose. What is true and are there ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center