En Espa—ol

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
2 ratings

Wednesday - March 09, 2011

From: Granbury, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Toxicity of Texas Mountain Laurel seeds to livestock and dogs?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Are the seeds of the Texas Mountain Laurel poisonous to livestock or dogs? Thanks

ANSWER:

Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a popular native evergreen because of its dark green foliage and spectacular purple flowers, but it is generally considered to be toxic, particularly the brilliant red seeds.

One of the sources that we go to when asked about toxic plants is Toxic Plants of Texas, and it confirms the toxicity of Texas Mountain Laurel. The toxic agent is cytisine, a quinolizidine alkaloid, which is found in the leaves and the seeds. Livestock are poisoned when they ingest the leaves, however  the leaves are thought to be unpalatable and are avoided when other food is a vailable. The seeds have a higher concentration of the cytisine, but unless the seeds are broken through mastication, they can pass through the digestive tract with little effect.

Cytisine is also toxic to humans, and children are attracted to the red seed.


Sophora secundiflora

 

 

 

 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Digging wild buttercup from roadside in Mechanicsville MD
May 28, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants, is it illegal to dig out wild buttercup in Maryland? I see them along the dirt road or just in the ditch. Since buttercup considered weed, I'm wondering what the law say about this...
view the full question and answer

Local native plant for grave marker in Washington
December 30, 2005 - Dear wildflower expert, Our friendís dog died, and is buried in western Washington, near the town of Monroe. My wife is from central Texas, and thought a Texas perennial would be a nice marker. ...
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

Cake decorations with flowers
February 25, 2009 - Can I decorate a cake with bluebonnets, lavender or mountain laurel blooms?
view the full question and answer

Horse-friendly plants for Powell OH
September 24, 2010 - I am looking for horse friendly plants, i.e., shrubs, trees, bushes, etc. that can be planted in wet area in Ohio. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center