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?


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

Monday - November 05, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Is horseherb toxic to chickens in Austin, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


My yard is almost completely horseherb (straggler daisy, calyptocarpus vialis) and I am hoping you can tell me if this is safe for chickens to eat? As common as it is here, there is nothing I could find regarding toxicity anywhere in my research- I've looked and looked. Thank you so much


Whenever we get questions about toxic plants, we go to several toxic plant databases to check out the plants.  I’ve listed some of these below.

Toxic Plants of Texas  

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina 

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

You’ll probably notice that these are mostly concerned with plants toxic to humans, dog, cats, horses, cows and perhaps goats.

After some further searching, I found several sites (listed below) that have information about plants toxic to chickens.

Backyard Chickens
   poisonous plants

   toxic plants for chickens

    Plants Toxic to Chickens


    list of plants harmful to chickens

The general idea seems to be that while chickens will eat most anything, they tend to avoid that which is harmful. Although Horse herb Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) isn’t listed as being toxic in any of the publications above, one might infer that it is non-toxic. That doesn’t completely assure that it isn’t toxic, but it increases the probability that it is non-toxic
Since you have a yard full of horse herb, I’m including some links that will tell you more about this plant.

 Previous Smarty Plants Answer

 Native Plant Society of Texas


From the Image Gallery

Calyptocarpus vialis

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Plants causing skin irritation in West Bend WI
May 26, 2011 - Is there a list of plants that cause blistering in this area? I have a friend who gets it bad every year-I find no evidence of cow parsnip or poison ivy---thanks.
view the full question and answer

GMO/GE crops killing wildflowers and insects
October 31, 2008 - Hi, I've read where GMO/GE crops in other countries were killing the wildflowers and insects adjacent to those fields. Have you had any reports of this North America. Best regards.
view the full question and answer

Itchy hands from handling Lantana plants
September 13, 2009 - I am in Ocala,FL. I pick up with my hands branches from a cut down Lantana Plant. My hands are very itchy, what can I do. THANK YOU FOR YOU.
view the full question and answer

Poisonous thorn in Marion NC
May 16, 2010 - Yesterday my son got a thorn stuck in his foot. I removed it but his foot is still swollen and puffy today. What kind of plants have poisonous thorns?
view the full question and answer

Toxic effect of mulberry fruits and sap
August 18, 2009 - What would be the toxic effect of the unripe fruit of the mulberry tree or the white sap?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center