Contact Us Host an Event 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
2 ratings

Wednesday - June 26, 2013

From: Los Angeles, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Major poisonous plants in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi! So I'm working on an art project that requires a comprehensive list of poisonous plants within California. I'm looking specifically however, for plants which are fatally poisonous (upon ingestion), and that are either native (preferably) or simply ubiquitous within California. I'm having a hard time finding such a list - if you could point me in the right direction, I'm willing to explore all venues. Thank you!

ANSWER:

California Poison Control has a list of Toxic Plants with toxicity ratings in their Know Your Plants publication.  The ones designated as "4" are defined as Major with this explanation:

"Ingestion of these plants, especially in large amounts, is expected to cause serious effects to the heart, liver, kidneys or brain.   If ingested in any amount, call the poison center immediately."

Some of the plants on the list are native and some are not.  You can determine which are native and which are non-native introduced species by searching the USDA Plants Database using the scientific name.   Look for "Native Status" near the top left corner on each species' page.  It will indicate "N" native or "I" introduced.

You can determine more about the nature of the toxicity of the plant by checking (again, use the scientific name) on the following toxic plant databases.   Note that many of the toxic plant databases are geared towards livestock and not necessarily human concerns.

Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms of North Carolina

Plants Poisonous to Livestock and Other Animals–Cornell University

Poisonous Plants–Montana Plant Life

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants–University of Pennsylvania

Veterinary Medicine Library–University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Livestock-poisoning Plants of California

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Wild plums for jelly from Conroe TX
December 18, 2012 - Do wild plum trees grow in my area? I want to get some next summer to make plum jelly.
view the full question and answer

Are black walnut and sugar maple poisonous to alpacas
June 09, 2008 - I have alpacas and wonder if black walnut or sugar maple are poisonous to them.
view the full question and answer

Poisonous plants of Texas Bays and Estuaries
February 24, 2011 - What is a poisonous native plants of the Bay and Estuary system in Southeast Texas?
view the full question and answer

Is red tip Photinia toxic to dogs?
September 18, 2012 - Is the red tip bush toxic to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Removing poison ivy in Cuba MO
August 27, 2011 - I bought a home with a huge bed of hybrid iris but the bed is thick with poison ivy. If I cover myself head to toe to prevent getting it is there a way to clean the tubers so they will not be poison? ...
view the full question and answer

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