En Español

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?


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
1 rating

Tuesday - June 01, 2010

From: Redford, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Osage orange thorn in foot in Redford MO
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I ran an osage orange thorn through my foot,it is very sore and very red around it. Is that something I might need to see a dr about, or it is just going to be sore for a couple days. It only happened this morning about 13 hours ago. But it sure does smart.


We are always amazed when our correspondents contact us before they see a doctor in situations like this. If there were toxin in the thorn, you would already know about it. We could find no indications that Maclura pomifera (osage orange) has any poisonous parts, including the thorns. However, any injury like that is susceptible to infection, which could be very serious. Or a piece of the thorn could still be in your foot, which also is dangerous. We have two suggestions: (1) see a doctor and (2) wear shoes when you go outside.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Maclura pomifera

Maclura pomifera

Maclura pomifera

Maclura pomifera



More Trees Questions

Tree for fast shade in Huckabay, TX
July 31, 2013 - What tree should I plant for fast shade?
view the full question and answer

Unusual green fruit
August 17, 2009 - Unknown "fruit" in my backyard I have large (softball size) nobbly green orbs finding their way into my backyard. They sort of look like a tennis ball left out in the rain to rot, but they are o...
view the full question and answer

Why aren't all blue spruce trees blue?
February 07, 2010 - I have been looking at blue spruce trees recently and I have noticed at a couple tree farms that not all blue spruce look blue at all. Some that are listed as Co. Blue Spruce are very green. The sha...
view the full question and answer

Planting a redbud in VA
April 20, 2011 - What is the best time of year to plant Redbud (Cercis canadensis)in Burke, VA, 22152 - fall or spring or does it matter? And is there a certain size tree that is best to purchase for greatest chance o...
view the full question and answer

Redwood as a Screening Tree for Santa Cruz Garden?
January 20, 2015 - I have a small yard in Santa Cruz, CA and we have to hide/distract from a power line. My husband is demanding a redwood. Is this sane? The space it will have to grow in is about 20x20. What species of...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center