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
1 rating

Monday - September 27, 2010

From: Payson, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Are Agave Seed Pods Poisonous
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

Are the seed pods, found in clusters, hanging from century plants(agave) poisonous to kids or dogs? They are large, light green, and shaped like fat bananas.

ANSWER:

A number of plants have the common name Century Plant. Most, if not all, are in the genus Agave. The most commonly used century plant in home landscapes is Agave americana (American century plant). See the photo below to make sure this is the plant you are asking about.

Colorado State University has an online database of poisonous plants. Entering "agave" into the search box yielded only Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) which is a member of the agave family, but normally does't go by the common name century plant. In addition the USDA provides information about plant toxicity in the plant profiles on their web site. Their description of the characteristics of Agave americana lists toxicity as "none". 

So, it seems that the fruit of Agave americana is not poisonous.

 

From the Image Gallery


American century plant
Agave americana

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Soaptree yucca falling over in Mesa AZ
July 24, 2013 - My soaptree yucca is about 5 ft tall and has fallen over. Does this plant require staking for I thought not, or is something else going on with it?
view the full question and answer

Skin Reaction form Cochineal on Prickly Pear
February 16, 2015 - I have severe burning and peeling skin on pads of fingers after touching "white stuff" on a prickly pear. White stuff tuned purple then burned skin even after washing hands. Skin has been cracking a...
view the full question and answer

Century plant dying after bloom
August 12, 2007 - My century plant is so tall that it is up to the top of the telephone pole top lines that carry our streets electric. I was wanting to know if you knew if I cut the stock off would it save the plant ...
view the full question and answer

Yucca Blossoming in Minneapolis MN
July 07, 2015 - I have 4 yr old yucca that sent out a five foot spike with flowers! I live in Minneapolis; is this unusual ?
view the full question and answer

Transporting a plant on airplane from New York City
April 21, 2012 - Can I transport via airplane a jade plant from New York City to Colorado in my suitcase?
view the full question and answer

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