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
2 ratings

Wednesday - August 15, 2012

From: York, England
Region: Other
Topic: Soils, Poisonous Plants
Title: Detoxifying soil from York England
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How do you neutralize toxic soil, it may have been contaminated by Foxglove Digitalis Purpurea? Thankyou

ANSWER:

Wow! All the way from England. Nice Olympics, by the way. As it happens, your question is a little out of our territory. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, in Austin TX is dedicated to the growth, propagation and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow naturally. However, we have a previous answer in which the gardener confused Penstemon cobaea (Wild foxglove) and/or Penstemon digitalis (Mississippi penstemon) with the actual Digitalis Purpurea, native to Europe but not to the United States.

Please read the previous answer we have linked you to, which says, among other things, that the real foxglove may be capable of taking toxins up that are already in the soil but not of injecting any toxins into the soil. If you suspect toxins in your soil you need to find the horticultural or agricultural department of a local university and find out how you can get your soil tested. In Texas, this is usually accomplished by the County Agent of the Extenstion Service of Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University, if that gives you a clue on where to start looking. The college in your area would be the best equipped to advise you whether you can detoxify your soil if it is toxic, or not to worry about it.

Here is an article from North Carolina State University on Digitalis Purpurea. This does advise of the poisonous charcteristics but does not mention toxicity in the soil.

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie penstemon
Penstemon cobaea

Mississippi penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Poisonous plant in Ohio with hydrangea-like flower
June 09, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I was sure that I had read that there is a poisonous bush that is native to Ohio that has flowers something like a white hydrangea..or was it queen ann's lace? I believe the ...
view the full question and answer

Puppy-friendly privacy screen in Montana
November 02, 2012 - I need some puppy-friendly short(< 30') privacy from the gigantic windows of my next door neighbor. But- there are power lines above the area that I needed to plant! I had planned on an aspen grove, ...
view the full question and answer

Can poisonous seed of wild plum be safely removed after steaming from Seymour IA
June 20, 2013 - I read on a related questions that you said the pit/seeds of all wild plums are poisonous. My question is this, can I juice the entire fruit for making jelly without removing the pit first? I have a s...
view the full question and answer

California plants poisonous to dogs from Sacramento
July 01, 2012 - Found dodonea viscosa purple. Is it poisonous to dogs? Also Gold Star Potentilla. Going drought tolerant and need small trees, shrubs and plants not poisonous to dogs for sun and partial sun.
view the full question and answer

Broad leaved evergreens for DC
May 06, 2011 - We are looking for a flowering evergreen shrub, native to the mid-Atlantic, that grows in part shade but will tolerate full sun. We have been researching rhododendrons and azaleas but are concerned a...
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