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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

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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Friday - June 29, 2012

From: Fowler, CA
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Vine non-toxic to alpacas and dogs from Fowler CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have alpacas and would like to plant a flowering vine on a backyard fence that adjoins the pasture. We live in Central California so we have many hot days during the summer and would like a plant that needs minimal watering. We also are looking for a vine that is non-toxic to our dogs and alpacas. What would you recommend? Thank you so very much for your time.

ANSWER:

We can certainly give you a list of vines native to California and to the area of Fresno County. We think this is important because California, like Texas, has several different and distinctive vegetation areas, ranging from the redwoods to the desert. One problem for us is that you failed to tell us if the vines would grow in shade or sun. When you use the Native Plant Database to make your own search, that is one of the things you can specify.

We can provide you with lists of toxic plants, including at least one for dogs, but alpacas may have a different digestive system. In particular, they will be accustomed to eating plants non-native to North America, which will not appear in our Native Plant Database.  There are a number of websites, some of which you may already be familiar with, on the foods alpaca like and can digest without damage to the animal. If you have not already seen it, we suggest you begin with:

What do alpacas eat?

Next, please read this Mr. Smarty Plants previous answer on veterinarian's lists of poisonous plants for animals. It is better to search on these lists with the scientific name of the plant, as common names can be very confusing.

When we searched on our database, there were 10 vines on the list, of which only 3 came close to being native to Fresno County, and 1, Clematis lasiantha (Pipestem clematis), is listed as being poisonous. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that vine. Scroll down the page to Additional Resources, where you can search on Google for more information on each plant. Since there were disappointingly few choices of vines, you might want to go to our Native Plant Database and perhaps search on shrubs or small trees as an alternative.

Vines Native to Fresno Co., CA:

Calystegia macrostegia (Island false bindweed)

Lonicera hispidula (Pink honeysuckle)

Maurandella antirrhiniflora (Climbing snapdragon)

 

From the Image Gallery


Island false bindweed
Calystegia macrostegia

Pink honeysuckle
Lonicera hispidula

Snapdragon vine
Maurandella antirrhiniflora

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