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

Care of non-native house plant
December 09, 2007 - Please let me know how to keep a dieffenbachia plant healthy and growing. I notice some leaves turn yellow. I water them once a week and keep it on the windowsill with some sunlight. Should I be do...
view the full question and answer

Moving "lily of the valley" from MD to TX. Is that OK?
January 17, 2012 - My question pertains to lily of the valley. From your database, I learned that it is a native plant but only the following states were listed: GA , KY , NC , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV. I am moving from...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
July 03, 2006 - I purchased a chinese hibiscus hiros small tree and after 1 month the leaves keep turning yellow. What's wrong? It's in a large pot and never outside below 60 degrees. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Eugenia in Scottsdale AZ
June 02, 2012 - I have 5 eugenia topiaries in my courtyard in pots..I notice as the days here in Phoenix get hotter and dry (as usual) they are starting to look bad, even though they are under a shelter out of the di...
view the full question and answer

Browning of non-native Plectranthus in Dallas
November 28, 2010 - I live in Dallas and planted 'Mona Lavender' which is now brown and limp after overnight temps in the low 30's. Is it dead or will it come back? Do I need to cover these plants during the winter m...
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