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?


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
1 rating

Saturday - April 30, 2011

From: Clovis, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Are any cherry trees poisonous from Clovis CA?
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Are there some cherry trees that are poisonous? if so, how do you identify them?


All members of the Prunus genus, which includes cherries, are poisonous. All members of this  genus carry the same warning about the ingestion of leaves, twigs or seeds of fruit. These parts of the plants contain cyanogenic glycoside or cyanogens that are highly toxic and may be fatal if eaten. Cyanogenic glycosides are changed into free cyanide either in plant material that has been damaged or in the gastrointestinal tracts of animals. It is most severe in ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, deer) but is also very dangerous for animals with single stomachs (e.g., dogs, cats, horses, pigs).

Remembering that humans count as animals, too, be aware that while children might not browse on wilted cherry tree leaves, they certainly might swallow some of the seeds of the fruit (the flesh of which is not poisonous) and suffer ill effects.


More Poisonous Plants Questions

Are magnolia trees toxic for dogs?
February 05, 2014 - Del Mar, California- are magnolia trees, (their bark, roots, pods) toxic to small dogs? My Westie terriers are exhibiting lack of appetite and diarrea this late winter. Tonight I saw on our local n...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of tree in North Carolina
September 07, 2011 - I live in North Carolina have found a tree on our property that has thorny branches and round fruit (perfectly round) with a fuzzy outer layer that starts out green but then turns yellow. The inside r...
view the full question and answer

Is it quantity that makes silver nightshade poisonous to people?
September 18, 2012 - I have a recipe for Asadero cheese that uses silverleaf nightshade and have eaten this cheese many times. Is it too much quantity that makes it poisonous to people?
view the full question and answer

Hardy plants for a narrow yard in Illinois
July 28, 2008 - I have an area in my yard that is approx 35 feet by 5 feet that is shaded on the east by a 4 ft fence and on the west by the house and above by trees. It slopes off to the neighbors yard (so doesn't ...
view the full question and answer

Alternative to Carolina Cherry Laurel in Cedar Park TX
May 10, 2010 - I love the look of the Carolina Cherry Laurel but hear that its berries are poisonous and can harm my dog if he eats them. What are some other alternatives that have a similar look; I'm looking for ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center