Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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 - 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.

 

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Crown rot in Agave americana
June 13, 2007 - My Century Plant's leaves get soft toward the base and eventually fall over and I have to cut them off. What causes this?
view the full question and answer

New agave plants, offshoots of parent plant, transplanting
September 16, 2007 - I have different varieties of Agaves that are sending off new plants from the mother. Some have 1-2 and some have 6-7 plants. Is there a proper method for removing (cutting them a certain way) for t...
view the full question and answer

Removal of mature agaves
November 20, 2007 - Hello- we live in Austin, TX and have a bed of different varieties of agave. They are near the walkway to our house, and are so out of control they pose a hazard to our guests walking up to the house...
view the full question and answer

Need help with century plant in Willis, TX
September 21, 2014 - Ok so I have two gorgeously monstrous century plants in my yard..I love em BUT I don't know if the have ever bloomed but since I am removing pups as fast as I can during the rainy season I'm assumin...
view the full question and answer

Dying cactus plants
December 16, 2007 - Two large cactus plants on the grounds of our condominium complex have begun to turn yellow and appear to be dying. A "staple" of our landscaping, this is the first year that they have developed th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.