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?

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 13, 2013

From: Bridgewater, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Title: Can animals eat bottlebrush buckeye without being poisoned?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can deer, bear and wild turkey and squirrels eat the nuts and leaves from the bottlebrush buckeye shrub without being posioned by it.

ANSWER:

From our Native Plant Database page on Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush buckeye):

"Warning: Seeds and foliage of Aesculus species are poisonous to humans if eaten. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a person’s age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plant’s different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil."

This quotation only cites humans so we looked around to see what else we could find.

From Floridata:  

WARNING
"The leaves and especially the seeds of bottlebrush buckeye are highly poisonous and ingestion could be fatal for people or livestock."

We are not sure that squirrels,  bears and turkeys count as livestock, but deer could.

From Dave's Garden: "Flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Rarely eaten by deer. Squirrels and chipmunks love the protein-rich nuts that ripen in the fall. "

From the same Forum: "Deer will eat them during winter so I have them in wire mesh that arent' seen during summer due to foliage. Deer prune them back naturally during winter. An acceptable arrangement."
From Alaska Fish and Wildlife News: How Deer Eat Poisonous Plants.
Conclusion: If you have Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush buckeye) and don't have dead bears, squirrels, turkeys and deer lying around, it must be working okay.
 

From the Image Gallery


Bottlebrush buckeye
Aesculus parviflora

Bottlebrush buckeye
Aesculus parviflora

Bottlebrush buckeye
Aesculus parviflora

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Poisonous weeds in Bedford County, PA
June 21, 2010 - I am battling my second bad round of poison in a month, this time on my face and in my left eye. It's awful. Problem is, I have looked and looked for poison ivy, oak and sumac around my neighborhoo...
view the full question and answer

Removing Mountain Laurel Seed Pods from Austin
August 14, 2012 - Is it best to remove seed pods from Mt. Laurel or leave them on the tree?
view the full question and answer

Herbal properties of Dicentra formosa
January 23, 2016 - I would like to get some information on the Dicentra formosa plant such as the benefits of the plant. Is it poisonous? Can it be infused in an oil?
view the full question and answer

Landscaping trees and shrubs non-toxic to dogs from Monticello FL
March 08, 2013 - We're landscaping and need advice on large and small evergreen trees and shrubs that are native to or will flourish in North Florida. We plan to put in a treeline (large and semi-large trees) as wel...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of wild plums (Prunus angustifolia)
July 28, 2008 - When I bought my land, there was a humongous thicket of wild plums (Prunus angustifolia) approx 10 ft high and covering 5-10 acres. I raise goats, and have known that wild plums (the leaves) can cause...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center