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?

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
2 ratings

Tuesday - October 12, 2010

From: Miami, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Miami gardener needs to know toxicity of Cordia boissieri
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

Hello. I have a question about Cordia boissieri. Is it toxic for humans (all parts of the plant)? I want to plant it in South Florida, in an area with children.

ANSWER:

Wikipedia and several other sources state that the fruit of Cordia boissieri (Mexican olive) is slightly toxic and causes dizziness. However jellies made from the fruit are safe to eat.  The fruit is eaten by birds, squirrels, other mammals and livestock. This is also a medicinal plant.  A syrup made from the fruit is given for coughs.  The leaves are used to treat rheumatism and pulmonary disease in Mexico and are being studied for their antibiotic properties.

I wouldn't be too worried about growing it around children.  The best protection is to teach them to never put anything in their mouths and to never pick anything without permission.  There are many poisonous plants growing in public parks and private homes that they visit, so you can't protect them without training them. My grandson and I have had many conversations about not eating plants, or even picking anything without permission. By the the time he was three, he was reliable around plants.

Here is a list of databases to check for possible poisonous plants.

Toxic Plants of Texas

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

 


Cordia boissieri

 

 

 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

How to Remove Pokeweed in Greenburg, Pennsylvania
September 10, 2010 - Last year I purchased a home with 3 acres of land and it is infested with pokeweeds,Phytolacca americana! I have small children and know this is a poisonous plant. Could you please tell me a way to ...
view the full question and answer

Non-toxic evergreen shrub around duck pen
September 10, 2015 - I live in Zone 6a, and am looking for a non-toxic evergreen shrub to use around our fence that pens in our ducks. It doesn't have to be native to our particular state. I have 74 feet of fence on th...
view the full question and answer

Spreading Poison Oak to Clothes and Shoes
May 31, 2013 - I had a poison oak rash about 2 years ago and during that time I had to attend a wedding. At the wedding I wore a pair of dress shoes and a pair of cowboy boots. Can I wear these shoes again? Is there...
view the full question and answer

Can hackberry twigs and leaves be safely used in compost?
March 05, 2009 - If Hackberry trees and leaves have growth inhibiting compounds, should they not be used in compost piles?
view the full question and answer

Want a vine, non-toxic to dogs, for Reno, NV.
September 11, 2012 - I want a non toxic (to dogs) vine for Reno, NV
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center