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?

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
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

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

Source for DNA sequencing of Opuntia species
March 04, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am trying to do a Opuntia speciation study, and rather just identifying the species by morphological comparison, I would also like to go a little deeper by comparing the DNA...
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

Soil for Agave americana
March 20, 2007 - Can you give me some information on soil admendments for growing Agave (Century Plant)? I kept it in a pot during the winter and now I am ready to plant it in my beds
view the full question and answer

Native perennial winter plants for Waco, TX
November 03, 2004 - I live in the Waco area, and would like to know winter plants that I could use that would come back each year, flowering or otherwise.
view the full question and answer

Preserving century plant bloom stalk from Sedona AZ
December 16, 2012 - I have the flower stalk from a century plant which I am using as a Christmas tree. Can you advise me as to what I should do to preserve it for future use? Should it be kept indoors or outdoors. Pro...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center