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
2 ratings

Thursday - April 01, 2010

From: Rose City, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Identification of poisonous shrub native to Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

This is found throughout the northern portion of the LP and in the UP. It grows to 3' as a shrub. It's leaves twigs and flowers ARE POISONOUS! It blooms in the Spring and can be found in the sun and in bogs, as well as a few other locations. This plant is native to Michigan. I can not identify it.

ANSWER:

You haven't given Mr. Smarty Plants much to go on except that it is a shrub that is poisonous and is native to Michigan.  However, here are a few possibilities: 

Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel)

Kalmia polifolia (bog laurel)

Cicuta maculata (spotted water hemlock)

Baptisia alba (white wild indigo)

Datura wrightii (sacred thorn-apple)

Dirca palustris (eastern leatherwood) and here are photos and more information

Andromeda polifolia (bog rosemary)

Rhamnus alnifolia (alderleaf buckthorn) and here are photos and more information

Viburnum opulus var. americanum (American cranberrybush)

The plants above are native to Michigan and are all listed on one or more of the following toxic plant databases:

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina Database, Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock, and Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System.

You can see a list of Michigan shrubs that would potentially grow in bogs by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and choosing 'Michigan' from Select State or Province, 'Shrub' from Habit (general appearance), and 'Wet - soil is saturated with water' from Soil moisture.

If none of these are the plant you are trying to identify, please take photos and send them to us and we will do our very best to identify it.  Please visit Mr. Smary Plants' Plant Identification page for instructions for submitting photos.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery of some of the plants above:


Kalmia angustifolia

Kalmia polifolia

Cicuta maculata

Baptisia alba

Datura wrightii

Andromeda polifolia

Viburnum opulus var. americanum

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Problems with Green Cloud purple sage in Buda TX
May 30, 2009 - I planted the "Green Cloud" variety of purple sage about 3 years ago. Yesterday, I noticed yellowish dots on the underside of the leaves of some plants. Is this harmful? The plants seem to be ok ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Philadelphus Innocence mock orange from Paris TX
June 20, 2012 - What is the best place in the garden to grow Philadelphus Innocence mock orange in Paris, Tx? Also, how long after transplanting do flowers occur? Any tips appreciated
view the full question and answer

Tree or shrub for acoustical protection in Clermont FL
September 20, 2010 - What type of tree or shrub would be best to lower the db level of freeway noise in Central Florida? I live about 3/4 of a mile from a freeway but due to the wind and hills it causes the noise to bounc...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Ilex x attenuata (Savannah holly)
July 31, 2014 - Is it hard to take a savannah holly out of my front yard? Do the roots grow down deep or are they more shallow? I can only take a 36-40 rootball circumference because of surrounding established shru...
view the full question and answer

Small shrub to plant in Austin Texas
March 11, 2009 - Hi.. I live in Southwest Austin and I am looking for a shrub that I can plant against the back of my house, which faces the north. I want something native, fairly low maintenance and not too large,...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center