Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Most common wildflower in Texas from Grand Prairie TX
March 12, 2012 - What is the most common wildflower in the state of Texas? My kiddos stumped me on this one?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on daylilies
July 29, 2003 - I have a number of Daylilies that are rapidly multiplying in my flower bed. If I relocate some of them to the field behind my house, will they crowd out the native wildflowers?
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of wildflowers in Frankfort IL
September 02, 2009 - Can you tell us how to get rid of wildflowers? We have wildflowers on the side of our pond and we want to plant sod next year.Should we cut them down this year and use a vegetation killer? We have fi...
view the full question and answer

Planting ironweed in Valley Forge
June 07, 2011 - I work in a national park and we have one population of Vernonia glauca (tawny ironweed), a state-listed endangered species in Pennsylvania. Last year we collected seed and have been successful in gro...
view the full question and answer

Native plant initiatives for universities in Southeast U.S.
April 26, 2005 - Hello, I am an undergraduate student majoring in botany at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN. I am a native plant enthusiast and would like to promote n.p.'s on campus. Do you kn...
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.