En EspaŅol

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
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

Wednesday - September 14, 2011

From: Kennesaw, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Edible Plants, Poisonous Plants
Title: Plant identification in Georgia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I saw the same question that I was going to ask about the plant that folds its leaves at dusk, with sparse branches, rapid growth, small yellow flowers and long (whisker-like, but do not appear to be seed pods) hanging from the branches. We live in Georgia (near Atlanta) and have never seen this plant before (are originally from PA). Saw a post on another site with a picture of the plant from someone in PA. Very interested in finding out this plants name.

ANSWER:

After some confusion about your question on my part (e.g., "Where did you see the question—was it in Mr. Smarty Plants' database?"), I decided to Google "plants that fold their leaves at night" and I believe that I found the site with the photo from Pennsylvania you mentioned finding.  Clicking on "View Follow-Ups" at the bottom of their page I found comments from other readers with a name for the plant.   It is Senna obtusifolia (Java-bean or sicklepod).  Here are more photos.  Even though it is a plant native to North America, it is considered an invasive weed in several southeastern states.  The long whisker-like green objects that hang from the branches are its seed pods.  Poisonous Plants of North Carolina lists the seeds as poisonous if eaten in large quantities.  However, the mature seeds after being roasted, have been used as a substitute for coffee—thus, its alternate name of Java-weed or coffeeweed.  Additionally, the young shoots can be boiled and eaten as a vegetable.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Java-bean
Senna obtusifolia

Java-bean
Senna obtusifolia

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Is any part of Mountain Laurel poisonous to goats from Belton TX
May 02, 2013 - We are considering planting Mountain Laurel in a field where we keep goats. Will any part of the Mountain Laurel be poisonous if eaten by the goats? If it would be poisonous, could you suggest some o...
view the full question and answer

Are the seeds of Texas ebony poisonous to dogs from Chandler AZ
October 30, 2009 - Please tell me if it is dangerous for my puppy to eat the seeds of a Texas ebony. She seems to be attracted to them.
view the full question and answer

Is Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittonianna) toxic to dogs
June 23, 2009 - I would like to know if the plant known as Mexican petunia,or Katie dwarf (Ruellia brittonianna) is toxic for dogs. Thank you. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Wisteria and Non-Poisonous Native Vines
February 15, 2012 - I'm from central Texas and I'm wanting to plant a native vine that will work well around the public, mainly kids. It's a mostly sunny trellis that makes an arch. I'd like to plant the native Wiste...
view the full question and answer

Plants Toxic to Horses
October 26, 2013 - I want to put planters on the front of my horse barn, which is also in the front field, so the horses could eat what is in it if they want to. I am looking to put a miniature pine tree in the planter....
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center