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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - March 10, 2011

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Are bluebonnets toxic to horses from Pearland TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Are bluebonnets toxic to horses?

ANSWER:

We couldn't find any definitive yes or no on this subject. Apparently, eating enough  bluebonnets can be dangerous for a horse, depending on their size, age and how much is eaten. We found several websites that touched on the subject, and have included some quotations from them.

Poison in the Pasture

"Normally, horses won't eat poisonous plants. But, during summer months when pasture grasses turn dry and brown or when the pasture is over grazed, horses will eat anything they can find. Often grasses found around irrigated landscape plants or irrigation systems contain dangerous weeds along with those blades of succulent grass. And a young, nosey horse will often try something just to see what it tastes like.

Did you know that the fragrant flowering shrub from which we get perfume - jasmine -is death to horses? So are larkspur, bluebonnet, creeping ivy and buttercup - all popular landscape plants. Even the leaves of oak trees are toxic if eaten in large enough quantities."

Understanding Horse Nutrition from the Bexar County Extension Office:

"Question:
Are bluebonnets dangerous in a horse pasture?
Answer:
Bluebonnets are somewhat toxic, but very distasteful to animals. Horses, cows and bluebonnets have co-existed for as long as they have all been around."

PlantAnswers.com

"The Moderately Toxic listing includes: Bulbs, Lupine (Bluebonnets!), Rhubarb, Azalea, Rhododendron, Oats, Larkspur, Milkweed, Mustard, Spurges, Nightshades, Black Walnut, and Red Oak."

You will have to come to your own conclusion. We certainly wouldn't suggest cultivating bluebonnets in a pasture meant for horses, but this USDA Plant Profile map does not show Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) growing natively in the Pearland area anyway.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Fragrant native plant to plant on rock wall in New York
May 28, 2007 - HELLO THERE, I LIVE IN CENTRAL NY. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD SUGGEST A PLANT FOR THIS ROCK WALL ON THE SIDE OF MY HOME. IT IS A NATURAL ROCK WALL, SO BEAUTIFUL!! THE ROCK IS FLAT, ACTUALLY THE AREA...
view the full question and answer

Color year round, welcome to Austin Texas.
December 04, 2011 - I am new to Austin and want to plant colorful flowers for fall and winter that get a "wow" reaction. I have not seen much at the local nurseries. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
August 26, 2004 - This year's strange summer weather has lead to a very unusual event. I have a second bloom on my Bluebonnet garden. I first noticed the blooms last week, and contacted my local nursery to confirm the...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Helianthus annuus
March 22, 2005 - I am doing an Earth Fair project on the Helianthus annuus. I would like to know if you possibly had any information on this subject. Some of the things I would like to know are: How big does it get? ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for an outdoor wedding in New York
February 06, 2009 - I am planning an outdoor wedding in New Rochelle, NY in May. We would like to use native plants. Can you suggests some that we can use in the bouquets and as potted plants? Thanks
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