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

Sunday - March 11, 2012

From: Fulshear, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Is Texas Mountain Laurel Honey Toxic in Fulshear, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Toxicity of Texas Mountain Laurel HONEY I know the seeds and leaves of the Tx Mountain Laurel are toxic. But, is honey that comes from the Mountain Laurel toxic too? I heard that it is, but can't imagine??

ANSWER:

The notion that honey bees can transfer toxic substances from flowers to their honey is a new one for Mr. Smarty Plants. However, I’ve copied a portion of an article from Wikipedia that gives some examples of this. Scroll down to 11.2 in the Table of Contents.

11.2 Toxic Honey;

Main article: Bees and toxic chemicals#Toxic honey

Honey produced from flowers of oleanders, rhododendrons, mountain laurels, sheep laurel, and azaleas may cause honey intoxication. Symptoms include dizziness, weakness, excessive perspiration, nausea, and vomiting. Less commonly, low blood pressure, shock, heart rhythm irregularities, and convulsions may occur, with rare cases resulting in death. Honey intoxication is more likely when using "natural" unprocessed honey and honey from farmers who may have a small number of hives. Commercial processing, with pooling of honey from numerous sources, claims it dilutes any toxins but these findings are not verifiable.

The mountain laurel mentioned is Kalmia latifolia (Mountain laurel)  which grows from Louisiana to the East Coast, and is more toxic than our Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)

This link to foodsafteysite.com identifies the toxin as grayanotoxin which is found in Kalmia latifolia, but not Sophora secundiflora.  It also makes the point that you should know the source of the honey and consume only processed honey, avoiding honey from farmers with only a few hives.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Mountain laurel
Kalmia latifolia

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Shrubs Questions

Small shrubs for roof garden in Washington DC
February 01, 2009 - I am looking for a hardy evergreen shrub for a roof garden in DC. Needs to be 3-4 feet tall, evergreen, dense, survive the extreme wind, cold and heat.
view the full question and answer

Correcting overgrown Savannah holly in Goldsboro NC
April 24, 2010 - I have an overgrown Savannah Holly. How do I go about correcting?
view the full question and answer

Fragrant foundation plants for sunny, dry area in Illinois
August 26, 2009 - We need suggestions of what to plant on the south side of our house heave sun and rather dry soil. We just took out old dead bushes. Would prefer something that flowers and smells nice that would gr...
view the full question and answer

Cake decorations with flowers
February 25, 2009 - Can I decorate a cake with bluebonnets, lavender or mountain laurel blooms?
view the full question and answer

East Texas Natives and Botanical History
May 05, 2011 - I am looking for flowers &/or flowering shrubs that are native to east Texas, especially that would have been in this area over 100 or more years ago.
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