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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 - November 21, 2011

From: Santa Rosa, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: poisonous landscaping plants in New Mexico
Answered by: Anne Ruggles

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I have been given the task of finding non poisonous plants and shrubbery to add to our new children's playground. This is a Head Start playground so I have to make sure anything we plant there is safe for our children. Your advice is most appreciated. Thanks, Jo Ann

ANSWER:

Congratulations on the new playground. What a fine opportunity to plant with plants that are both native and xeric (adapted to hot, dry growing conditions). Here is a link at the Wildflower Center that lists and describes plants native to New Mexico that you might consider using.

 In addition to choosing landscaping plants carefully you might also take a look at what is growing around the new play area and make sure there are no poisonous plants in that environment. Seeds from them could also germinate in the play area. New Mexico State University has a PowerPoint presentation available that has excellent photos of common range and “weed” plants in your area that are poisonous. To download the powerpoint go here, scroll down to "Poisonous Plants" and click on it. This will initiate the download of a ppt presentation titled "Poisonous Range Plants" by: Kelly W. Allred (Range Science Herbarium, Department of Animal &Range Sciences, New Mexico State University).

The New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Program has agents in each county in New Mexico. These folks should be able to help you identify plants found in your area that you want to avoid. The Guadalupe County Extension office is in Santa Rosa:

244 S. 4th Street - Suite 110
Santa Rosa, NM 88435
Phone: 575-472-3652
Fax: 575-472-3652
Email: guadalup@nmsu.edu
URL: http://guadalupeextension.nmsu.edu

Lists of common landscaping plants that are poisonous are available at:

1. the Texas A&M Cooperative Extension website

2. University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension website

3. The College of Pharmacy of the University of Arizona also has a good list, with descriptions and photos, of poisonous ornamental/ horticultural plants.

 

 

 

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