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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 15, 2012

From: Los Angeles, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Trees
Title: Is Lemon Cypress toxic?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is the Lemon Cypress toxic?

ANSWER:

Lemon cypress is a cultivar of Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress), a native of California.  It does not appear on any of the following toxic plant databases:

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University's Plants Poisonous to Livestock and Other Animals

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

University of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants

California Poison Control System

However, I did find some reports saying the Cupressus macrocarpa caused spontaneous abortions in cattle in New Zealand.  The FDA Poisonous Plant Database has a report of poisoning of cattle in New Zealand and in Australia: 

MacDonald, J. (1956) Macrocarpa poisoning. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 4:30. 

Sloss, V. and J. W. Brady (1983).  Abnormal births in cattle following ingestion of Cupressus macrocarpa foliage.  Australian Veterinary Journal 60 (7):223.

USDA ARS Poisonous Plant Research database reports a paper stating that the consumption by cattle of Monterey cypress causes abortions.  [Lee, S. T. et al.  (2003)  Development of Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays for Isocupressic Acid and Serum Metabolites of Isocupresssic Acid.  Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.]

It does appear that Cupressus macrocarpa, if eaten, poses a threat to pregnant cattle; but I could find no indication that it is toxic to humans.  It would seem prudent, however, NOT to consume it.

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Should a tree near a water well be transplanted?
July 31, 2013 - I have a water well and have about a 6 yr live oak planted in close proximity to it( about 10 feet). Would it be wise enough to transplant the tree while its this young or leave it alone. Also I need ...
view the full question and answer

American Beech with Brown Leaves
August 06, 2015 - I have a North American beech tree in Oregon. Its leaves started out with big brown spots on the leaves and is pretty much turning all the leaves on the tree brown. What could be causing this and wha...
view the full question and answer

Is it live oak sprouts or parasites from Austin
April 30, 2011 - You must get tired of questions about "Live Oak sprouts." I just read your recent Q&A about this. But I'm getting mixed info about whether the "sprouts" are actually Live Oak growth of some sort ...
view the full question and answer

Symmetrical Holes in Live Oak leaves.
April 08, 2009 - We have 2 young live oaks - quercus virginianum trees and their brand new leaves show two symmetrical rows of pin-sized holes punctured along the length of them. What could have caused this?
view the full question and answer

Possible disease on Eastern Redbud
October 06, 2007 - Our Eastern Redbud appears to be suffering from our recent drought. The leaves are turning brown in July/August on a few branches. A few black spots appear on the leaves before they turn brown. Ot...
view the full question and answer

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