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Monday - January 04, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Need information about the toxicity of some newly acquired plants in Austin, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I just got a Carolina Buckthorn tree, a silk tassel, a wafer ash, and an escarpment black cherry tree. I wonder if any of these trees produce berries that would be poisonous to my grandchildren or my dog???? Thank you so much. I'm enjoying reading your questions and answers!


When Mr. Smarty Plants gets inquiries about toxic plants, there are several databases that he consults, and I am going to share them with you for future reference.

I have perused the lists below looking for the trees that you planted; Carolina Buckthorn Frangula caroliniana (Carolina buckthorn) , silk tassel tree Garrya ovata (eggleaf silktassel) , wafer ash tree Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree), and the escarpment cherry Prunus serotina var. eximia (black cherry).

The silk tassel tree and the wafer ash were not on any of the lists, however the escarpment cherry was on all of the lists, and the Carolina Buckthorn was on two.

Members of the genus Prunus are well known for being toxic. The toxic compounds are cyanogenic glycosides that are found in leaves and the seeds. (more information)

The Buckthorn is sometimes placed in the genus Rhamnus, and this genus is listed is the one found in the databases. The toxic compounds are glycosides that are found in the berries. (more information)

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina   http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock    http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/

Toxic Plants of Texas http://essmextension.tamu.edu/plants/toxics/

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants   http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/poison/index.html

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System   http://www.cbif.gc.ca/pls/pp/poison?p_x=px

University of California at Davis     http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/ce/king/PoisPlant/Tox-COM.htm




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