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?


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
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

Live Oak Leaf Drop in North Carolina
April 27, 2011 - We planted a 15 foot, approx. 3" caliber live oak tree last summer and it seemed very healthy throughout our unusually cold winter in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. (Winston-Salem). Now it's ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of 4-year-old redbud in Rochester, NY
May 20, 2009 - I planted a redbud four years ago and it still hasn't flowered - it does get the lovely leaves. When I planted it it was only an 18 inch stick. How long before it will bloom or is something wrong?
view the full question and answer

Pruning lower branches of Cordia Boissieri from San Antonio
December 08, 2013 - My Texas Wild Olive Tree is about 6 feet high now. I bought it at the 2012 plant sale. This past summer it put on new branches near the base of the tree which I would like to cut off (to encourage u...
view the full question and answer

Growth rate of mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa)
August 16, 2009 - What is the growth rate of Mesquite? How long does it take for Mesquite to achieve a 4-6 inch wide trunk? I can't seem to find this information.
view the full question and answer

Leaf Galls on Live Oak
March 20, 2012 - Hi - I have a live oak tree that always seems to have thinner foliage than our other two. Upon closer examination today I found small brown balls all over the mature leaves. The balls look and feel ve...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center