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 Plant Identification Questions

Tall lily with dark berry at leaf attachment
June 25, 2012 - A lily showed up in my flower garden last year (central Illinois); about 3' tall, a single dark berry at the stem where each leaf is attached. It didn't flower. This year it's approaching 4' tall ...
view the full question and answer

Is there a variety of bluebonnet called black gumbo
February 04, 2008 - I live in Grimes County, Texas on the eastern edge of the Blackland Prairie. A few years ago my hillside of Bluebonnet seed was harvested. I was told it was a rare 'black gumbo' variety of bluebon...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
September 29, 2008 - My parents have a plant growing that we can not identify. Fast growing to 6 ft in 6 weeks. theleaves look like a fern with little sweet pea looking yellow blooms. The plants leaves fold up at dusk tig...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating unwanted vine on arbor in San Francisco
November 20, 2012 - There is a vine growing on our arbor, it has sickle-shaped pods and is crushing the arbor, how do we get rid of it?
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification from Round Rock TX
October 26, 2010 - I am looking for the name of a ground cover I saw that looked like large bur oak leaf in a silvery green color. It was in the shade. I tried a search with no luck. Thanks!
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