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
1 rating

Tuesday - August 14, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Title: Removing Mountain Laurel Seed Pods from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is it best to remove seed pods from Mt. Laurel or leave them on the tree?

ANSWER:

We would recommend removing the seed pods from Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) when the pods first begin to appear. If you follow the plant link above, you will note this sentence in the first paragraph on our webpage on the plant:

"The brilliant, lacquer red seeds were valued by indigenous people for ornament and ceremonial use; they contain the highly poisonous alkaloid cytisine (or sophorine), a substance related to nicotine and widely cited as a narcotic and hallucinogen."

Since the seeds are very attractive, there is always the chance of a child, or perhaps a pet, finding one and taking a taste. If you wish to propagate the plant by use of seeds, here are Propagation Instructions from the same webpage:

"Description: Sow scarified seed after the soil has warmed in spring or fresh seed still swollen in pod in fall."

This would mean you could harvest and use the seed still in the pod before it falls to the ground, possibly to be picked up. The plant is difficult to propagate and slow-growing; please read all of our webpage on the Mountain Laurel to help understand how to take care of it.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source for dwarf red mulberry from Spring Hill TN
December 08, 2012 - Hello: Where can I buy a dwarf red mulberry tree in the USA? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Finding pictures in the Image Gallery from San Luis Obispo CA
August 23, 2009 - How can I select a picture when I don't know the photographer or anything else, just the name of the plant?
view the full question and answer

Where to find non-native Thymus praecox coccineus
July 02, 2009 - Do you know where in Lansing, MI I could buy the Walk On Me plants?
view the full question and answer

Locating source for Iva frutescens
September 03, 2008 - Do you know where I can purchase the plant Iva Frutescens, sometimes called the Miracle Bush or Jesuit's bark? Do you know if this bush attracts Monarch Butterflies?
view the full question and answer

Source for non-native white Mexican petunias in Panama City, FL
June 23, 2009 - I'm looking for tall white Mexican Petunias. Can you please tell me where I can get some?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center