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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - May 16, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Poisonous Plants
Title: Is Thalia dealbata toxic to dogs?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

A pond in a park frequented by dogs contains Thalia dealbata and I have seen numerous dogs eating the roots with relish, which we discourage, of course. They seem to really enjoy it though. After an extensive search, the only information I can find regarding it's use as a 'food' or medicinal plant is as a diuretic and vulnerary. I can find no reference to it being eaten by either people or animals. Are there any references you know of regarding toxicity, etc.?

ANSWER:

When Mr. Smarty Plants gets questions regarding toxic plants, he consults a suite of toxic plant databases that are listed below for answers.

ASPCA Toxic and Non-toxic Plants 

University of Illinois

Wikipedia 

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

California Poison Action Line

Thalia dealbatta Thalia dealbata (Powdery alligator-flag) does not appear on any of these lists. However, this doesn’t guarantee that it isn’t toxic, but  it lowers the probability. 

Here’s an obscure reference at an academic paleontology conference to it being eaten by Native Americans.
 http://www.ou.edu/cas/archsur/plainsconf/FinalSchedule.pdf  see page 32.

 

From the Image Gallery


Powdery alligator-flag
Thalia dealbata

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