Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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
2 ratings

Saturday - August 20, 2011

From: Hanahan, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Title: Is Savannah Holly poisonous to burn in Hanahan, SC.?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Can you please tell me if the wood from a savannah holly bush is poisonous to burn?

ANSWER:

 The questions that we usually get about poisonous plants deal with the ingesting  of plant material, so this brings up a new perspective.

Savannah Holly (Ilex attenuata) is a hybrid of Ilex opaca (American holly) and Ilex cassine . A look through a couple of poisonous plant databases( University of Arkansas  and the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System ) indicates that several members of the genus Ilex are toxic but none specifically list Ilex attenuata. The toxic principal ( a glycoside) usually causes nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, and in some cases, it is the berries that contain most of the toxin.

Since the site of the toxic interaction is in the digestive tract, it seems unlikely that the amount of toxin in smoke from burning the wood would have any effect. However, I would err on the side of caution and avoid burning the wood if possible.

On the subject of burning, let me direct you to this link with some good information about smoke inhalation.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Foundation Plants for South Carolina
November 07, 2009 - What native plants are suitable as foundation plantings? My soil is heavy clayey loam with red clay subsoil. I live in Charleston County.
view the full question and answer

Puppy-friendly privacy screen in Montana
November 02, 2012 - I need some puppy-friendly short(< 30') privacy from the gigantic windows of my next door neighbor. But- there are power lines above the area that I needed to plant! I had planned on an aspen grove, ...
view the full question and answer

Information about blackleaf elderberry
July 03, 2008 - I was given a blackleaf elderberry. Do I plant this tree in shade or sun? Also, does it require a lot of moisture? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen that Grows to Three Feet in Michigan
May 22, 2014 - I have searched your site and canít find what I need. I live in the middle of Michigan. I need a shrub that stays green year round and only grows to 3 feet or less.
view the full question and answer

Shade Tree for Baltimore Patio
September 11, 2013 - I am looking for a deep-rooted shade tree (or a tall shrub) for near my patio in Baltimore, Md. I desire shade in summer, but with minimum impact to the patio. The tree would be about 20 feet from the...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.