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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - June 11, 2013

From: Albuquerque, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Ingestion of agave sap from Albuquerque NM
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My boyfriend was out in the Arizona desert without water for two days and sought moisture through what he thought was a yucca plant but instead we believe was agave. He sucked the moisture off the inside if the agave leaves and is having intense throat pains since. How poisonous is the agave sap he ate, and will the side effects get worse?

ANSWER:

We are not the authority your friend should be talking to. He needs to see a doctor NOW!

Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on effects of the agave sap. This had not been ingested, as in your case, but there was a severe long lasting allergic reaction. The digestive system is reacting, possibly more violently, to contact with that sap than if it had only been the skin that was affected.

While tequila is distilled from one agave plant, it goes through considerable processing and dilution before it is drinkable and/or safe to drink. No one but a doctor can tell if there is internal damage, but certainly something must be done. If all your friend has to do is take antihistamines or steroids, he will be fortunate.

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Will the blooming stalk of my century plant eventually tip over? Yes
June 24, 2009 - I have a century plant in bloom. Will the stalk eventually tip over? Would appreciate any Internet references on the subject.
view the full question and answer

Survival of yucca plant mowed down in Oklahoma
April 15, 2009 - I have a yucca plant that came from a very old plant of my late father, and had transplanted it 6 years ago and it came back every year and bloomed. This morning I went outside and noticed my husband...
view the full question and answer

Debugging and Preserving Dried Cholla Cactus
January 04, 2014 - Hi. Recently found an intact skeleton of a cholla cactus. I want to Bring it in our house. Are there any dangers associated with this, like bugs inside the "branches?" how would you suggest I prese...
view the full question and answer

Container plant in difficult sun exposure from Leander TX
June 06, 2014 - HELP!!!! I have a large Mexican terracotta pot on my front porch. This awkward area is facing westward, so receives the full dose of Texas sun after about 3 pm onward. Now here's the catch; my fr...
view the full question and answer

Century plant dying after bloom
August 12, 2007 - My century plant is so tall that it is up to the top of the telephone pole top lines that carry our streets electric. I was wanting to know if you knew if I cut the stock off would it save the plant ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center