Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
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

Suggestions for Texas native plants for memorial
June 30, 2005 - A dear friend of ours has passed and we would like some ideas of a native Texas plant we could plant in memory of her. It will be grown in the hill region near Houston. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native photinia in Austin
October 07, 2013 - Hi, I live in Cedar Park, TX (Austin Suburb)and have planted a number of Photinia shrubs in various areas of my property. All about 10 months old. The leaves are curling along their length on many...
view the full question and answer

Problems with a Cercis (Redbud)
August 25, 2014 - Half of my redbud tree is pooped out looking. On two places on the bark are areas where a few layers of bark have pulled back. In these areas there are white growths.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrubs as dust barrier in Georgia
August 20, 2008 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live on a dirt road in West Central Georgia. Could you recommend a fast growing, low maintenance evergreen shrub or small tree (that will not harm my horses or goats) that will fo...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Eve's necklacepod in Austin
April 04, 2011 - I have a young Eve's necklace that never blooms in the spring. I wonder every spring if this will be the year, but the blooms never come. Is there a reason for this? The tree is about three or fou...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.