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

Smarty Plants on forbs
October 16, 2005 - What kind of plant is a forb? I see the term used frequently in reference to grasses (I think), but I can't figure out exactly what a forb is.
view the full question and answer

Native subarctic plants
March 26, 2008 - I'm doing a project on subarctic things and I have to have subarctic plants in it. I need to know a few and about them. Can you help?
view the full question and answer

Question about booklet, Native and Adapted Landscape Plants
June 24, 2009 - In the booklet"Native and Adapted Landscape Plants for Central Texas", the light requirements for some plants are written in a way that I do not understand. Is Sun/Part Shade different from Part Sha...
view the full question and answer

Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious?
July 28, 2014 - Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious? Your database does not address this for most plants.
view the full question and answer

Why is water used for plants.
February 19, 2008 - Why is water the most popular thing for watering plants if is so plain?
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