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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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Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Marion, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Poisonous thorn in Marion NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Yesterday my son got a thorn stuck in his foot. I removed it but his foot is still swollen and puffy today. What kind of plants have poisonous thorns?

ANSWER:

Ordinarily, we ask our clients to expect a 3 to 4 week wait for our answers, but we are  going to make an exception here. We have no idea what plant your son stepped on, and even with a description or pictures, it may not be in our native plant database, and we might still not know. If the foot is still swollen and puffy, we would recommend he see a doctor as quickly as possible. The thorn may have injected a toxin of some sort into the flesh, or some of the thorn may still be in there. or an infection might set in. This is a medical matter; it doesn't really matter what the name is of the plant that caused the problem, what matters is that it be treated right away.
 

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