En Español

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

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

Inducing flowering out of season
June 22, 2007 - We are currently conducting research on insect transmission of a plant virus to flowering weeds. Is there a process to trick biennials into flowering in their first year?
view the full question and answer

Do yuccas die after blooming?
October 11, 2010 - We have a blue yucca which was planted 2 years ago and is just now blooming with a tower of white flowers. Will the entire plant die after blooming as the century plants do? If so, is there a way to s...
view the full question and answer

Withering plants recover with water
February 17, 2008 - Why do withering plants stand up when you give them water?
view the full question and answer

20 years to bloom
May 02, 2007 - My girlfriend and i have come up with an interesting question, we were wondering if there is a plant in existance that takes over 20 years to bloom, and how many different kinds (if any) there are? We...
view the full question and answer

The Designation of Annual and Perennial Plants
July 25, 2014 - Sometimes when researching a plant I will find it listed as both annual and perennial. I understand that some plants will be perennial in a warm climate and die in a colder zone, but it is still a per...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center