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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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Wednesday - April 29, 2015

From: Centreville, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Will Hellebores planted in the soil near vegetables transfer poisons to them?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 dogs? I'd appreciate your help. I would like to move them immediately if necessary. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Hellebores (Helleborus sp.) are native to Eurasia and have been introduced into the US.   They are poisonous, but it is very unlikely that you Helleborus is releasing toxic substances into the soil that your vegetables would absorb.  Please see the answer to a related question about toxic plants contaminating the soil that they are growing in.  

All Hellebores are toxic to dogs, cats and horses, as well as people.  Here is more information about the plant from The Poison Garden website.  Even though the information says that they are only poisonous if eaten in large quantities, if I were you I would move them from the area that dogs (or small children) could easily access.

 

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