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
1 rating

Friday - June 20, 2008

From: Paris, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Tea made from timothy grass
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My mom and I have been drinking tea made from Timothy grass seed for many years, 40 at least. It is delicious, and refreshing. My question is can you see any harm in drinking tea made from the seeds of untreated timothy seeds? Is the chemical composition once heated unsafe? We have never suffered any ill affects in all these years and was just curious about it. Thank You, Ruthie Lee

ANSWER:

Phleum pratense (timothy grass), a non-native introduced grass from Europe, is one of the worst of the allergenic grass pollens, second only to Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass), another non-native invasive; but other than causing hayfever and being considered as one of the Invasive and Noxious Weeds of the Northeast I couldn't really find anything else bad or toxic about it. According to the Ohio Perennial & Biennial Weed Guide : "Toxicity: None known. Pollen can cause dermatitis and hayfever." None of our other favorite poisonous plants databases (e.g., Poisonous Plants of North Carolina, Cornell University Poisonous Plants Informational Database, Texas Toxic Plants, Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System) lists it.

Treatment for allergies is often based on applying controlled doses of the allergen to accustom the immune system to it and prohibit the allergic reaction. Both injection immunotherapy (in which extracts of the timothy grass allergens are injected subcutaneously) and sublinqual immunotherapy (in which a pill containing extracts of the timothy grass allergens are allowed to dissolve under the tongue) have been used to treat hayfever caused by timothy grass.

You and your mother are living proof that drinking timothy grass tea for 40 years hasn't caused any obvious harm and, who knows, you may have been desensitizing yourselves to timothy grass hayfever by doing so.
 

More Edible Plants Questions

Sap of mulberry similar to sap of maple for syrup from Wellman IA
February 23, 2012 - Can the the sap of the mulberry tree be used to make syrup similar to maple Syrup?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Texas cherry tomato
April 24, 2005 - We just bought 2 Texas cherry tomato plants at the plant sale. We have to container garden in a walled courtyard due to deer. (Would deer be attracted to the plants in a garden with herbs and high de...
view the full question and answer

Lindheimer's Muhly Grass Seeds for Human Use?
July 07, 2016 - Does anyone know if Lindheimer's Muhly seeds were ever used as human food source?
view the full question and answer

A Bounty of Edibles for New Braunfels Texas
October 25, 2013 - I was hoping you could suggest a few plants that would serve several purposes. I live in New Braunfels, TX and would like to incorporate as many drought tolerant plants which would support birds, but...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a supplier for Mustang Grape vine in Austin, TX>
April 02, 2012 - I'm looking for a supplier in Austin that will have a Mustang Grape Vine seed or plant for purchase. I found Natives of Texas in Kerrville, but if you know of a supplier in Austin, that would be pre...
view the full question and answer

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