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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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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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Thursday - March 14, 2013

From: Gresham, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Is Cerinthe major toxic to cats in Gresham, OR
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hi, I was wondering about whether a specific plant was poisonous or not specifically to cats.. I've done a lot of searching and can't find anything on whether or not this plant is considered toxic or not. The plant is called "Blue Honeywort" and is also known as "Blue Shrimp Plant" Pride of Gilbraltar" or "Blue Wax Flower". It doesn't seem to be a very well known plant. I would like to grow one of these indoors and would just like to know if it would be safe in case my cat decided to eat it. Thanks so much for your time!

ANSWER:

As you indicated, the plant in question has several common names, but the scientific name is Cerinthe major var Purpurascens. It is native to the Mediterranean region, so it isn’t found in our Native Plant Database.

When we get questions about toxic plants, we consult several Toxic Plant Databases. I’ve included the links for future reference.

ASPCA

University of Arkansas

University of Illinois   

Toxic Plants of Texas 

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System 

California Poison Action Line 

I’ve looked through these and didn’t find Cerinthe major listed. This doesn’t guarantee that the plant is non-toxic, but it increases the probability that it is not toxic.

 

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