Rent Shop 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
1 rating

Monday - September 27, 2010

From: Payson, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Are Agave Seed Pods Poisonous
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

Are the seed pods, found in clusters, hanging from century plants(agave) poisonous to kids or dogs? They are large, light green, and shaped like fat bananas.

ANSWER:

A number of plants have the common name Century Plant. Most, if not all, are in the genus Agave. The most commonly used century plant in home landscapes is Agave americana (American century plant). See the photo below to make sure this is the plant you are asking about.

Colorado State University has an online database of poisonous plants. Entering "agave" into the search box yielded only Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) which is a member of the agave family, but normally does't go by the common name century plant. In addition the USDA provides information about plant toxicity in the plant profiles on their web site. Their description of the characteristics of Agave americana lists toxicity as "none". 

So, it seems that the fruit of Agave americana is not poisonous.

 

From the Image Gallery


American century plant
Agave americana

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Is Sedum recommended for a greenroof project in Houston
July 23, 2008 - Would you recommend using Sedum for a green roof project in Houston, Texas? Will the humidity effect the sedum? If sedum would be a poor choice, what would you recommend for Houston?
view the full question and answer

Night-Blooming Cereus not Blooming
September 04, 2014 - I have a plant called a night-blooming cereus, which during the warm season, is supposed to have blooms that come out at night and close up but don't fall off when morning approaches. But my cereus h...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Strawberry Hedgehog cactus from Temple TX
June 03, 2012 - I had purchased a Strawberry hedgehog Cactus (echinocereus stramineus) a few years ago from the Wildflower Center's annual plant sale and planted it then. It has now started to brown from bottom to t...
view the full question and answer

Replacements for yuccas from Georgetown TX
August 07, 2013 - I have lost some softleaf and variegated yucca to a beetle grub destroying the root system - like the Agave snout beetle does. I have put an insecticidal drench on my remaining plants, but suspect wi...
view the full question and answer

Does cutting off the budding agave bloom save the plant from Sunrise FL
April 30, 2010 - I have an Agave(century plant) just starting its long flower stalk. I have read the mother plant will die after flowering. Can I cut off the stalk before it flowers to save the plant? If not, how do i...
view the full question and answer

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