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 - June 06, 2012

From: Randolph, VT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Plant Identification, Poisonous Plants
Title: Identification of plant with orange sap that glows at night
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I was just pulling up a plant and noticed that its sap was a kind of orange then I noticed it glowing orange at night. What kind of plant is this and is it dangerous?

ANSWER:

There are many plants with orange/yellow sap and since you didn't describe the plant itself, I can't really identify it. I did search for sap that glows/luminesces/fluoresces at night but found only one reference. Chelidonium majus (Greater celadine), a native of Europe, has orange sap, is considered invasive and highly toxic and, according to one source, is luminescent.  This is the only plant that I found with orange sap that is reported to be luminescent, but there are other candidates with orange sap.

Another plant that has orange sap is also considered to be the most toxic plant native to North America—the deadly Cicuta species (water hemlocks)Both Cicuta bulbifera (Bulblet-bearing water hemlock) and Cicuta maculata (Spotted water hemlock) grow in Vermont.  You can check the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System to read about the toxicity of other Cicuta species.  If this is the plant you pulled up, you will probably want to be sure it doesn't regrow and be very cautious handling it.

All of the members of the Family Papaveraceae (Poppy Family) have yellow-orange or milky white sap.  Your plant could have been either of these that happens to grow in Vermont.  The plants in the poppy family that grow in Vermont are:

Argemone mexicana (Mexican prickly poppy) is mildly toxic.

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot) is highly toxic.

There are, no doubt, other plants with orange sap.  If you have a photo of the plant, you can visit our Plant Identification page to find links to plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

 


 

More Non-Natives Questions

Replacing St. Augustine with native grass in Austin
February 24, 2012 - We are renting a house our Sister-in-law owns- the St Augustine is in tough shape, drought and lack of care over the years. Could we plant a native grass or do we have to pull up the remaining St. Aug...
view the full question and answer

Promoting bloom in Chocolate Summer Mimosa
January 11, 2008 - Please help! I purchased a Chocolate Summer Mimosa from one of our local nurseries. It was a brand new plant to them and they don't really know much about them. I planted it just 3 years ago as an...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native althea in Georgetown, TX
June 20, 2009 - My white althea's leaves have a white edge, last year the bloom did not open. Is it sick?
view the full question and answer

Identification of red/yellow/black flower in California
April 15, 2013 - Plant found, April Mount Diablo CA 6 symmetrical petals red with a pattern of a yellow flower with black edge in the centre, I can not identify, please help.
view the full question and answer

Non-native Pride of Barbados for Austin
July 07, 2009 - When does the Pride of Barbados need to be planted and where would I find a nursery that carries them?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center