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

Horses exposed to toxic plants in Charles Town WV
July 13, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I have a big problem on my hands! Four of my horses have gotten into something toxic, but I must find out what. I found an unusual plant that a mare chased her foal away from. It's ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning the leaves of Sago Palm.
March 10, 2010 - Is it a cardinal sin to remove all the sago palm branches? This winter they were so badly scorched by the cold that hardly a frond went unaffected. So I cut them all off as I needed to get around the...
view the full question and answer

Are dogwood trees poisonous to horses?
April 26, 2009 - Are dogwood trees poisonous to horses?
view the full question and answer

Lantana induced rash
October 20, 2011 - What should I use for a rash caused by a Lantana scratch on my arm
view the full question and answer

Cypress poisonous to livestock from Arlington, TN
December 06, 2012 - Are green giant cypress poisonous to livestock?
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center