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
2 ratings

Monday - May 21, 2012

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Medicinal Plants, Trees
Title: Dog eats Celtis laevigata, sugar hackberry
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

This is an odd question but I am a biologist and have for years notice an odd behavior in my Golden Retriever. When he gets stomach distress or something makes him nervous like an incoming thunderstorm he will go out in our yard and search out Celtis laevigata(Sugar Hackberry)leaves and eat them. He especially looks for new leaves but will settle for more mature leaves if he can't find new growth near the ground from young trees. He will smell past other plant species to find hackberry. My question is: Are there any known medicinal uses for Celtis laevigata leaves especially as it relates to stomach discomfort?

ANSWER:

For many years my large dogs (Great Dane/Black Lab mix—now deceased) would also seek out Celtis laevigata (Sugar hackberry) leaves to eat.   However, it seemed that they just enjoyed the leaves.   I didn't notice that they did this in relation to an upset stomach.   I have also seen my neighbor's dog looking for and eating the sugar hackberry leaves and a friend also says he has noticed his dog seeking them out.   I checked in the North American Ethnobotany database from the University of Michigan for Celtis sp. and its uses.   Medicinal uses include various parts to make medicine to treat sore throats, veneral disease, and problems with the menses in women.   One reference in the North American Ethnobotany database listed it as an aid for indigestion by the Navajo, but the specific part used for this was not named.  Additionally, many tribes used the berries for food, the bark was used to make a dye and to make sandals and there were other uses for the wood.  American Indian Health and Diet Project (AIHDP) also lists food and medicinal uses for sugar hackberry, but doesn't mention any use for gastrointestinal problems.  Several edible plant books list the berries as nibbles or have recipes using the berries (e.g., Delena Tull's Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest, Charles Allen's Edible Plants of the Gulf South, Carolyn Harvel and Billie Turner's Recipes from the Wild: Cooking with Native Texas Plants).  I went so far as to taste for myself the very young leaves on plants in my yard.   They were not the least unpleasant and, in fact, had a hint of sweetness.   This may be why dogs like them.

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Oak roots damaged by ax from Austin
July 03, 2013 - Hello. I am attempting to create my own tiny copy of the Wildflower Center within my yard. I'm using all native, drought tolerant plants. My front yard is full of live oaks. I used a sod cutter la...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Canary Date Palms from Miami FL
December 06, 2011 - Hi: The fronts of my canary date palm, which I planted about 6 years ago, has been getting brown from the bottom of the tree and working itself towards the top for the past several months now. The b...
view the full question and answer

School children planting trees native to Oklahoma and North Texas
December 07, 2009 - Hello, I'll be going into grade school classrooms to teach children how to plant trees. Perhaps they will each plant a seed in a cup to take home to plant in their yard. I may even be able to get see...
view the full question and answer

Mail order source for Guaiacum angustifolium from Ft. Worth TX
April 16, 2014 - Do you have a mail order source for the seeds of Guaiacum angustifolium? I have looked extensively and cannot find one. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

What plants grow well in Athens, TX?
January 18, 2011 - Athens, Texas, we have very sandy soil mixed with clay, what plants grow well here?
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