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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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Thursday - April 22, 2010

From: New Orleans, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Is Florida anisetree appropriate for school planting in New Orleans?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Illicium floridanum, Florida anisetree We are considering using this plant for a landscape at a school. I have been informed that it is poisonous, but not by a reliable source. I am otherwise very familiar with the plant. Is it an appropriate shrub for a school landscape. If not, do you have any other evergreen shrubs that you would recommend? Thank you very much,

ANSWER:

We found only two websites that referred to Illicium floridanum (Florida anisetree) as poisonous; one was Floridata "WARNING: This plant is toxic! Do not ingest. It is not a substitute for the culinary spice and flavorings obtained from Illicium verum," and the other Plants for a Future. "Although no mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, at least one other member of the genus has a fruit that is poisonous in quantity."

So, we went to our lists of Poisonous Plants for North America, and checked each for Illicium floridanum (Florida anisetree).  You can use the same procedure and the same lists to check other plants. We found no further indications of this plant being poisonous in any of these databases.

Poisonous Plants in North America:

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  

As for whether Illicium floridanum (Florida anisetree) is appropriate for a school landscape, you probably are a better judge of that than we are, as you are familiar both with the site and with the plant. You can follow the plant link above to our page on this plant to see what it requires in terms of sun, moisture, soil and so forth. If you decide it is not acceptable, go to our Recommended Species section, select Louisiana, and follow instructions to find other shrubs more appropriate. We would like to note that one of the common names for this plant is "stinkbush."

From our Native Plant Database:


Illicium floridanum

Illicium floridanum

Illicium floridanum

Illicium floridanum

 

 




 

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