QUESTION: Are the seeds of the Texas Mountain Laurel poisonous to livestock or dogs? Thanks
Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a popular native evergreen because of its dark green foliage and spectacular purple flowers, but it is generally considered to be toxic, particularly the brilliant red seeds.
One of the sources that we go to when asked about toxic plants is Toxic Plants of Texas, and it confirms the toxicity of Texas Mountain Laurel. The toxic agent is cytisine, a quinolizidine alkaloid, which is found in the leaves and the seeds. Livestock are poisoned when they ingest the leaves, however the leaves are thought to be unpalatable and are avoided when other food is a vailable. The seeds have a higher concentration of the cytisine, but unless the seeds are broken through mastication, they can pass through the digestive tract with little effect.
Cytisine is also toxic to humans, and children are attracted to the red seed.
Toxicity of Mountain Laurel Mountain laurel is toxic to dogs and to grazing animals, such as sheep or goats. Instances of poisoning to humans are rare, although it is reported that mild illness can result from ingesting honey made by bees that feed on the nectar of the flowers. Take care not to use the leaves of mountain laurel in place of the leaves of bay laurel, which are commonly used in recipes.
I realize this does not specifically answer your question, but at least you have information to ponder.
I hope in some way this is helpful.
All the best in whatever you decide and happy birding!
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