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

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

How can I distinguish Hibiscus laevis from Pavonia braziliensis in New Braunfels, TX?
September 12, 2011 - How can I distinguish Hibiscus laevis (Halberdleaf Hibiscus) from Pavonia braziliensis (Brazillian Rock Rose)? Earlier this year I was given the former by a friend and former NPSOT chap...
view the full question and answer

How does Styrax youngiae differ from other Texas Styrax species?
August 18, 2013 - How does the Styrax youngae differ from other Texas styrax? Where can I find a description of all the Texas styrax trees?
view the full question and answer

Mechanism for Cenizo bush blooming before rain
October 04, 2006 - Why does cenizo (aka barometer bush) bloom before it rains?
view the full question and answer

School project on acid rain effects on plants from Austin
October 18, 2013 - Hi I go to an Austin high school and I am doing a project on how acid rain affects plant growth. I am wondering if you know any plants that would be more or less susceptible to acid rain for this proj...
view the full question and answer

Will a Venus flytrap bite?
December 01, 2008 - Will a venus flytrap bite a person? Taylor
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center