En EspaÑol

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

Wednesday - May 08, 2013

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Poisonous Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Effects of Hedysarum mackenzii from Pflugerville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What are the effects of Hedysarum mackenzii?


Since this plant is found in far northern Alaska and Canada, it is not likely to show up in Travis or Williamson Counties; plus, you did not give us a valid e-mail address so this probably will not get back to you anyway, but we try to give all questions as much of an answer as we can.

One souce we consulted (Wikipedia) said: "Hedysarum (Sweetvetch) is a genus of the botanical family Fabaceae, consisting of about 309 species of annual or perennial herbs in Asia, Europe, North Africa, and North America." This article also said it needed documentation, which we believe to be true. As a member of the Fabaceae (pea) family, it is related to the bluebonnet, and pictures we found of the bloom somewhat resembled the iconic Texas wildflower.

However, further research on our part found several articles recounting Native Americans' use of the plant in Alaska and Canada. The plant does not appear in our Native Plant Database nor in the USDA Plants website, which is the basis for our information. Here are some links to sites we found with more information:

From wikispaces.com Hedysarum mackenzii vs. Hedysarum alpinum

From the Ethnobotany Journal: Is Hedysarum mackenziei (yes, that's how they spelled it) (Wild Sweet Pea) actually toxic?

From the Circle District Historical Society of Central Alaska Hedysarum mackenzii.

Your question was "What is the effect of Hedysarum mackenzii?  Since the experts don't seem to be able to agree on whether it is poisonous or not, we really don't know. We do feel relatively sure you are not likely to stumble on it in Central Texas.



More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Should black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta) plants be cut back
May 02, 2007 - I have black-eyed susan plants that were beautiful last year and flowered for a long time. Do they need to be cut back and if so, how much?
view the full question and answer

What about the Bluebonnets at Muleshoe Bend Recreational Area in Spicewood, TX ?
April 27, 2015 - We had heard about vast field of bluebonnets out at Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area - an LCRA park in Spicewood. We went out today and there are indeed vast fields . . . all where Lake Travis would be ...
view the full question and answer

Managing a wet area in Austin
November 18, 2013 - I suspect that my backyard lies at the very top of a creek watershed. However, all of the water flowing through it gets blocked by a solid stone wall. Whenever we get a significant rain event, part ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Suggestions for Shady Site under Trees in Alabama
April 03, 2014 - I live in Montgomery, AL and have a bare area (20' x 5’) that's shady and soil erosion is a problem. Grass stops growing at the drip line of the trees here. Do you have any suggestions for growing s...
view the full question and answer

Plants for north side from Dale TX
February 10, 2012 - What native trees and bushes can I plant on the north side of house? Can I use corn meal( I NEED FIGHT A GRASS) in flowerbed and then plant native wildlife seeds(FLOWERS)?
view the full question and answer

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