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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Monday - October 26, 2009

From: San Diego, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Is hopseed bush poisonous to horses in San Diego
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I need to plant a hedge to block unwanted neighbors and shield the horse corral from the house. I love the hopseed bush for its growing habits and color, especially the purple hopseed. I need to know if it is poisonous to horses. Thanks

ANSWER:

Dodonaea viscosa (Florida hopbush), native to North America, is shown on the USDA Plant Profile for this plant as growing in one small area just north of San Diego County. You might want to read this University of Florida Coperative Extension Service webpage on Dodonaea viscosa to learn if you have the proper growing conditons. That site mentions the cultivar 'Purpurea', which is probably the one you are talking about. Below is a list of databases you can check to find out if a plant you are interested in is toxic to horses. Just because a plant is not on these lists does not guarantee it is not poisonous to horses, but you should feel fairly safe after checking them.

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

Toxic Plants of Texas 

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Toxic Plants: Horses from the ASPCA

We checked all of these using the scientific name Dodonaea viscosa to search and found it in none of them.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Dodonaea viscosa

Dodonaea viscosa

 

 

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