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
1 rating

Wednesday - June 26, 2013

From: Los Angeles, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Major poisonous plants in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi! So I'm working on an art project that requires a comprehensive list of poisonous plants within California. I'm looking specifically however, for plants which are fatally poisonous (upon ingestion), and that are either native (preferably) or simply ubiquitous within California. I'm having a hard time finding such a list - if you could point me in the right direction, I'm willing to explore all venues. Thank you!

ANSWER:

California Poison Control has a list of Toxic Plants with toxicity ratings in their Know Your Plants publication.  The ones designated as "4" are defined as Major with this explanation:

"Ingestion of these plants, especially in large amounts, is expected to cause serious effects to the heart, liver, kidneys or brain.   If ingested in any amount, call the poison center immediately."

Some of the plants on the list are native and some are not.  You can determine which are native and which are non-native introduced species by searching the USDA Plants Database using the scientific name.   Look for "Native Status" near the top left corner on each species' page.  It will indicate "N" native or "I" introduced.

You can determine more about the nature of the toxicity of the plant by checking (again, use the scientific name) on the following toxic plant databases.   Note that many of the toxic plant databases are geared towards livestock and not necessarily human concerns.

Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms of North Carolina

Plants Poisonous to Livestock and Other Animals–Cornell University

Poisonous Plants–Montana Plant Life

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants–University of Pennsylvania

Veterinary Medicine Library–University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Livestock-poisoning Plants of California

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Grasses for horses in Austin
October 27, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants We just bought 4.5 acres in Travis County off HWY 290. We have 3 horses we keep on it but there is very little grass in the pastures. What is the best type of grass to seed ...
view the full question and answer

Are Chilean Mesquite pods poisonous to dogs?
July 12, 2010 - Are chilean Mesquite tree pods poisonous to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Can oleander poison the ground below it?
June 29, 2013 - Can oleander poison the ground below it? Would it kill/damage grass or other plants below it? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on staghorn sumac
May 23, 2005 - I currently have staghorn sumac in my yard located in Woodstock, Connecticut. it appears to be of the Rhus typhina species. i am removing these from my yard using a chainsaw and creating a pile of ...
view the full question and answer

Are the leaves of the Fruitless Palm Tree poisonous in Redding California?
October 18, 2010 - Are Fruitless Palm Tree leaves poisonous? I was poked in the hand with a leaf of one of the branches. It was a dead leaf/Branch? Please Help!
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