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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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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!

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Saturday - September 03, 2011

From: Nipomo, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Poisonous Plants
Title: Is Purple Hopseed poisonous to dogs?
Answered by: Anne Ruggles

QUESTION:

Is the Purple Hopseed plant safe for dogs? We would like to plant a hedge of the purple hopseed at my parents home. They are elderly and have a small (8lb.) dog that they just love so much..I would hate to plant anything that could be bad for the little dog. Thanks for any help.

ANSWER:

The Purple Hopseed (Dodonaea viscosa, var. Purpurea) is a shrub in the soapberry family – the Sapindaceae. There are about 50 species of shrubs and small trees in the genus Dodonnaea. They are native to tropics around the world, most notably in Australia. The Purple Hopseed is highly variable and occurs over a large range. The variety, 'Purpurea' is the most widely cultivated and is native to New Zealand. It is an evergreen with bronzy green leaves that turn deep purple red in the fall.

 

There are a number of sites to check for toxicity of plants to pets (see below). None lists this plant.

  1. ASPCA  
  2. Cornell University Dept. of Animal Science 
  3. Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service
  4. Univ. of Illinois Veterinary Medicine Library
  5. Univ. of Penn. School of Veterinary Medicine
  6. California Poison Control Center
  7. California LIst of Toxic Plants 

 

 

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