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Thursday - April 15, 2010

From: Killeen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Fruit trees non-toxic to dogs that will grow in Killeen TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in Central Texas and I'd like to know if there is any fruit tree that is non toxic to dogs that will grow well in my area. My dog eats everything in sight. Thanks!


First, we need to tell you that most of the fruits you would find in a grocery store are non-native to North America and so hybridized that their origins are murky, at best.  Things like apples, oranges, peaches all are native to other parts of the world, many of them China. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown. There is one genus of fruits, Prunus, that has 32 species native to North America, and 17 to Texas. The fruit on many of these can be used to make jellies, even wines. There is just one little catch, from our Native Plant Database:

"The seeds, twigs, and leaves of all Prunus species contain hydrocyanic acid and should never be eaten. Leaves are particularly high in this toxin. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a person’s age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plant’s different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil."

Over time, we have accumulated a list of databases with plants poisonous to animals (and people, too, of course). So, when you are interested in a plant, native or non-native, you can go to these databases and check on the specific plant. It will be easier if you have the scientific name of the plant, but the lists will all accept common names as well.

Here is a list of websites on poisonous plants to which you can refer when choosing plants:

Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List—Horses 

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 from the University of California-Davis

Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants from the Universtiy of Pennsylvania

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

ASPCA list of Plants Toxic to Horses

Horse Nutrition: Poisonous Plants from Ohio State University Extension Service

10 Most Poisonous Plants for Horses from Equisearch 

PullmanUSA - plants poisonous to both cats and dogs



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