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

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

Wednesday - October 27, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Smarty Plants on Poisonous Plants
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I wonder who among the wonderful staff at the Wildflower Center can answer this. I occasionally get requests for information on toxic or irritating plants. Beyond the obvious ones like poison ivy that everyone knows, what's there to look out for in Texas?

ANSWER:

The newly published book:
Hart, Charles R. et al. 2004. Toxic Plants of Texas: integrated management strategies to prevent livestock losses. Created by Texas Cooperative Extension. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.
is an excellent source for poisonous agricultural plants, but you are right that it doesn't list several plants irritating to humans that aren't potentially deadly to livestock. University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service has a database of Poisonous Plants of the Southern United States and Colorado State University has a Guide to Poisonous Plants which both would more closely match our region than the Cornell University Poisonous Plants Informational Database. However, neither lists the "irritating" plants other than poison ivy.
Shinner's and Mahler's Flora of North Central Texas (Diggs, George M. et al. 1999. Shinners&Mahler's Flora of North Central Texas. Fort Worth: Botanical Research Institute of Texas) gives information about the toxicity of plants in the North Central area of Texas, including Tragia (noseburn), Cnidoscolus (bull nettle/mala mujer), or Toxicodendron (poison ivy)
 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Can foxglove poison be transmitted to the soil and taken up by another plant
May 29, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, Recently I discovered a Foxglove that had come up after being planted 2 or 3 yrs ago. Next to it I have some medicinal Feverfew growing. (They were so close together I suspec...
view the full question and answer

Are palm leaves poisonous?
August 25, 2009 - I live in a second story house surronded by various types of palm trees on the west coast of Florida. My 1 year old son crawls on the decks and tries to taste all of the palm leaves that sneak through...
view the full question and 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 the full question and answer

Plant for privacy hedge in Oklahoma that is not poisonous to dogs
April 01, 2012 - Hello! I am looking to put a privacy hedge fence in my yard. I love the look of American Holly, however, I have a dog who eats everything so I worry that this will not be a wise choice with the b...
view the full question and answer

Itchy hands from handling Lantana plants
September 13, 2009 - I am in Ocala,FL. I pick up with my hands branches from a cut down Lantana Plant. My hands are very itchy, what can I do. THANK YOU FOR YOU.
view the full question and answer

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