Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Smarty Plants Question Topics

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.

 
<< previous 1 2 3 4 ... 8 next >> 
382 Results:   10  25 50 100 per page


topicquestion
What plant looks like poisonous water hemlock
March 28, 2016
I thought that hemlock was a tree. I grew up in Carmel Valley, CA. As a kid we used to play in fields that looks just like this stuff. Some were over six feet and an inch around. In summer we pulled ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

White and Violet Flower in Missouri
March 17, 2016
When I was small I came into contact with a plant that gave me cold sweats, chills and hallucinations. All I remember was it bore a single flower with a little white and a lot of violet. It had a dark...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Are Carolina jessamine flowers toxic to bees?
March 08, 2016
Hello Mr. Smarty Plants, My husband and I recently planted 15 yellow Carolina Jessamine bushes along our back fence. Our hope is that it will vine up into the fence and give us privacy. I went online...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Should flower stems of Texas mountain laurel be removed after they bloom?
March 02, 2016
Should I trim off the old flower stems from this years bloom on a Texas Mountain Laurel?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

How to Control Poison Ivy
February 22, 2016
We have lots of Poison Ivy on a site we are clearing it is adjacent to a pond and children are around this area all the time. We are creating hiking paths. I have a lot of experience but I do not wan...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Is Penstemon Poisonous to Dogs?
February 21, 2016
Is Penstemon palmeri poisonous to dogs? I couldn't find in ASPA guide.
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Western Poison Oak Sap Transfer
January 26, 2016
My partner is a park ranger and constantly exposed to poison oak. He gets infected sometimes but mostly seems to tolerate it pretty well. I, on the other hand, keep getting reinfected with it, all ove...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' 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 Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Will blue eyed grass grow under black walnut trees?
January 18, 2016
Will blue eyed grass grow under black walnut trees? I know the Siberian Iris is tolerant but the scientific names are not the same yet everything I read indicates that blue eyed grass is not in the g...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Can a dog die from eating a holly bush?
January 12, 2016
Can a dog die from eating a holly bush?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Non-Toxic Hedge for Wisconsin
December 17, 2015
What would be a good non-toxic for dogs, privacy hedge about 3-6 feet tall for Wisconsin climate zone 4b?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Non-toxic trees for cattle, horses and swine in Washington state.
December 04, 2015
What non-toxic trees can be planted in cattle pastures in Central Washington? We also have horses and swine on the property.
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

How to get Poison Ivy?
November 22, 2015
I know this is a silly question but we have a lot of poison ivy in the area and I know that birds eat the seeds and berries, can you get poison ivy from bird poop or track it in the house? From shoes ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Is Poison ivy always rooted in the ground?
November 11, 2015
Does Poison ivy on a tree always start at the ground and climb up the tree or can it start producing its vine and leaves by itself at the top of the tree or middle?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Food Allergy to Beautyberry or Persimmon?
October 22, 2015
I think I might have a food allergy to Beautyberry or American Persimmon, eaten Saturday at the North Carolina Great Dismal park. These were the only strange foods recently, though I've had persimmo...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Do Delphiniums Transfer Toxins to Strawberries?
October 22, 2015
Is it safe to eat strawberries grown beside delphiniums?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Indoor and Outdoor, Fast Growing Plants for California
October 22, 2015
Iím looking for the best plants for me. I have small kids so they would have to be safe. I would like them to be able to grow inside or outside. I would love for them to grow fast and reproduce fast.
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Non-toxic evergreen shrub around duck pen
September 10, 2015
I live in Zone 6a, and am looking for a non-toxic evergreen shrub to use around our fence that pens in our ducks. It doesn't have to be native to our particular state. I have 74 feet of fence on th...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Urushiol Oil Persistance?
September 09, 2015
I'm trekking into poison ivy infested areas for work every other day. I make sure to wear long pants, long sleeves, boots, and long socks over my pants. I walk into my office to drop off supplies and...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Is Convolvulus equitans poisonous?
August 22, 2015
Hello, Can you tell me if convolvulus equitans is poisonous? If so, can you tell me how poisonous and which parts are poisonous? I am considering putting this in my backyard but I have a dog and an...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Plant Identification
August 07, 2015
I live in southeastern Michigan. I found a plant growing in the backyard that caught my eye. I chalked it off as a weed, but it's unique. It is shaped like a bushing type plant, has red stem, each cl...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Does Virginia creeper cause a rash?
July 09, 2015
Does Virginia creeper cause a rash to everyone or those who are only allergic as in an allergy like a peanut allergy? Is it something that should be avoided like poison ivy? And does the sap stick to ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Discouraging Poison Ivy
June 27, 2015
Is there a fern that discourages poison ivy from growing?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Is Texas mountain laurel honey toxic?
May 25, 2015
I have been told that honey produced from the flowers of my Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) would not be safe to consume. Is this correct? The only information I have been able to find is...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Fruit and nut trees safe for horses.
May 11, 2015
My husband and I just moved to Elgin. We have always wanted to grow fruit/nut baring trees but didn't take in to consideration that horses might eat them. We have never had land or horses before, s...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Identification of potentially toxic weed in California
May 08, 2015
Hi! Sorry about the error, I'm not very computer savvy! I have a weed that grows on my land; about 1 foot tall its flower looks like a Q-tip. My neighbor says it killed her horse! I can't find i...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Will Hellebores planted in the soil near vegetables transfer poisons to them?
April 29, 2015
I just planted helleborus in my garden and have now read that they are toxic. They are planted near vegetable plants, will they affect the vegetables and leave them inedible? Also, are they toxic to d...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Vines for a backyard pergola not toxic to dogs and cats
April 26, 2015
We have just built a pergola in out backyard and are wanting a vine to grow up and around the posts. We have 3 dogs and also have a cat that loves to go outside. We are really looking for something th...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Is Thyme Toxic to Cats?
April 15, 2015
Is 'Pink Chintz' thyme, the ground cover, toxic to cats?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Non Toxic Fruit Plants
April 03, 2015
I am trying to plant on my backyard. My dog spends about 8 hours a day outdoors and I am afraid she will be poisoned. I am overwhelmed by the information of toxic trees\plants for dogs. However, I ju...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Pool-Side Plants for Miami
April 02, 2015
I am looking for plants, along the line of ti plant cordyline features, to plant around my chlorinated pool area with full South Miami sun. We have a dog therefore they must be non-toxic plants. The...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Agave attenuata Poisonous?
March 12, 2015
Is Agave attenuata (foxtail agave) poisonous to horses or humans?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Non-Toxic Flowering Vine for Sunny Trellis in California
March 12, 2015
I am looking for a flowering trellis plant that is non-toxic to my dog, will grow in the California area that I live in, and will be in full sun.
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Skin Reaction form Cochineal on Prickly Pear
February 16, 2015
I have severe burning and peeling skin on pads of fingers after touching "white stuff" on a prickly pear. White stuff tuned purple then burned skin even after washing hands. Skin has been cracking a...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Are Viguiera dentate leaves toxic to dogs?
November 26, 2014
Many dogs on the Turkey Creek Nature Trail in Emma Long Metropolitan Park love to snack on the leaves of the Viguiera Dentata plants. The leaves SEEM to be harmless. I am writing to request informat...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Is the fruit of Melothria pendula edible?
November 22, 2014
Is the fruit of Melothria pendula edible?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Kousa Dogwood Fruit Toxic to Dogs?
October 14, 2014
Are Kousa dogwood berries toxic to dogs?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Is mulch from hackberry and chinaberry trees safe for flowerbeds?
September 17, 2014
We had to remove several large hackberry and china berry trees. Is its mulch safe to use in garden and in flower beds?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Groundcover for shade in Duval County, Florida
September 17, 2014
What low growing ground cover would be good for a lake edge area. This area is shaded with overlying woodland type trees. I planted some autumn ferns but they have getting overrun with poison ivy. I a...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Are Castor Bean Leaves Toxic to Pets?
September 13, 2014
I understand that the beans of the castor plant on lethal if chewed on. Are the leaves that toxic? I would love to plant this plant and not let it flower, but I do have visiting grandchildren and dog...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Identification of bush/vine with purple berries
August 09, 2014
I was clearing fence line and came across this plant it looks like a Bush but underneath grows like a vine it has long broad leaves that reminded me of Polk salad but it grows berry clusters the berri...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Is Viburnum dilatatum 'Henneke' (Cardinal Candy) toxic to horses?
July 01, 2014
Is Viburnum-Cardinal Candy/Viburnum dilatatum 'Henneke' reported to be toxic or non-toxic to horses?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Identification of possible toxic plant in Austin, TX
June 20, 2014
When we hike with our dogs along Turkey Creek in Austin, they seem to make a bee line to a small green leafy plant when they find it along the trail and eat a few leaves of it. We assume it's not dan...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Eliminating silverleaf nightshade from Albuquerque NM
June 07, 2014
I have silverleaf nightshade in my yard and would like to eradicate it (yeah, I know, good luck!) or at least control it. Do you have any suggestions?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Plant ID from San Marcos TX
June 07, 2014
My dogs love to eat the leaves of a certain little orange wildflower. It might be Wedelia or Texas creeping oxeye. Have you ever heard of this?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Is Phyla lanceolata (frogfruit) poisonous to dogs fromTitusville FL?
June 01, 2014
Is Phyla lanceolata, also called Fogfruit, Lanceleaf Fogfruit, or Northern Fogfruit, toxic to dogs? We have it growing amongst our grass. I can't find it on any toxic plant list.
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Non-native astilbe resemblance to non-native poisonous castor bean from Tomslake BC
May 21, 2014
I have a plant that looks like a castor bean but it has flowers like a Younique Silvery Pink Astilbe. Need to id because castor bean is poisonous. This plant grows up to 5 feet in height. Thank you !
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Will Canada geese eat Asclepias tuberosa from Cape May Court, NJ
May 20, 2014
Will Canada geese eat my butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)? I know this plant is deer resistant. I really want to plant some on sandy bank near pond in my back yard, but I fear the geese will ...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Muhlenbergia dumosa safe for horses from Austin
May 13, 2014
Is Muhlenbergia dumosa safe for horses? Will horses eat it? I have a client who has a mini-horse who visits her property on occasion, and I want to ensure that what I plant is both safe for the hors...
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

Is Fern-like Plant with White Flower Poison Hemlock?
May 06, 2014
I have a fern-like plant which produces white flowers that uncurl from the stem as the plant starts to grow. Is this poison hemlock?
View Mr. Smarty Plants' Answer

topicquestion

<< previous 1 2 3 4 ... 8 next >> 
382 Results:   10  25 50 100 per page