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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.

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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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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

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