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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - June 05, 2012

From: Muskegon, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Problem Plants, Trees
Title: Toxicity of catalpa wood?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Is the sawdust from cutting up a catalpa tree or the smoke from burning the wood toxic? Thank you,

ANSWER:

I have found a number of Internet sources that discuss the possibility of toxicity of Catalpa speciosa (Northern catalpa), but there seems to be little evidence to support the allegation.  The US Dept. of Agriculture web site does not mention toxicity as a problem.  But to be on the safe side, it might be advisable to wear a mask when Catalpa wood dust or fragments are in the air.

 

From the Image Gallery


Northern catalpa
Catalpa speciosa

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