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
4 ratings

Tuesday - December 23, 2008

From: Hopatcong, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Plants with latex-containing sap
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I was on a nature hike this past summer in Yosemite, and our Ranger guide told us about latex in the Milkweed and the Western Dogwood being a defense mechanism against browsing by deer. I'm a landscape architect and most of my work is in New Jersey. I'm wondering whether there is a list of native plants that produce latex. The deer problem has become severe in parts of the Northeast. The Milkweeds have been some of my favorite plants. I'd like to see if there are other plants that might have this latex based resistance to deer browsing. Life is good.

ANSWER:

Most members of Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family) and many in the Papaveraceae (Poppy family) have latex-containing sap, as well as members of the tribe Cichorieae of Asteraceae (Aster family)—notably Taraxacum spp. (dandelion), Lactuca spp. (lettuce), Agoseris spp. (false dandelion), Krigia spp. (dwarf dandelion), Sonchus spp. (sowthistle), Lygodesmia spp. (skeleton plant), Hieracium spp. (hawkweed).  Many plants in Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family)—in particular, all plants in the genus Euphorbia—contain latex sap.  One species in Euphorbiaceae, Hevea brasiliensis, a native of South America that has been introduced into the tropics around the world, is the source of natural rubber. You can use the "Narrow Your Search" option in the Native Plant Database to limit the members of these latex-sap containing families to species that occur in New Jersey.

We have a list of native  Deer Resistant Species.  Again, you can use the "Narrow Your Search" option to limit the selections to plants found in New Jersey.  Also, Rutgers University New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station has  a list of Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance.   Not all are native plants, of course, but you can check them against our Native Plant Database for their nativity.


Asclepias incarnata

Asclepias tuberosa

Argemone mexicana

Euphorbia corollata

Taraxacum officinale

Lactuca graminifolia

Hieracium gronovii

 

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Are birdhouse gourds deer-resistant?
January 24, 2009 - Bird house gourds: they smell nasty (to this human being) but I NEED to know if deer are as repelled as a human by the strong odor put off by the plants.
view the full question and answer

Is India Hawthorne a deer-resistant plant?
July 03, 2011 - Is India Hawthorne a deer resistant plant in Beaufort County South Carolina?
view the full question and answer

Deer Damage to Pencil Holly in Michigan
March 15, 2011 - I have 5 sky pencil holly bushes that are about 3 feet tall each..they don't grow very fast. I was looking forward to them reaching the 7 feet mark one day, as they are going to serve as a screen be...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Holly after Deer Browse
January 16, 2010 - Deer have been eating my Holly Bushes. Can I prune now in January? I live in the North of New Jersey. Will they come back fuller? I just planted them in spring last year. How can I get them fuller
view the full question and answer

Texas natives that attract butterflies but not deer
December 13, 2012 - I'd like to have some plants in my garden that are butterfly attractors, but that whitetail deer won't like. I can find lists of butterfly plants, and lists of deer-resistant plants -- is there a li...
view the full question and answer

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