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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Thursday - March 12, 2015

From: Sacramento, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Poisonous Plants, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Agave attenuata Poisonous?
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Is Agave attenuata (foxtail agave) poisonous to horses or humans?

ANSWER:

Poisonous Plants fo California by Thomas C. Fuller lists Agave attenuata (native to Mexico) as having toxic sap of the leaves or inflorescence. The toxins are identified as a hemolytic sapogenin, an acrid volatile oil, oxalic acid, and oxalates. Fuller says that the fresh juice of the plant is cathartic and a diuretic. He also says that the juice of the leaf and particularly the outer layers of the leaf are highly irritant to the skin.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a very good website with lists of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs, cats and horses.They don't list Agave but they have a good list none-the-less.

 

 

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