Wildflowers that are Toxic to Dogs

If you have a dog, you know they’ll put anything in their mouth. In your garden or out in the field or park, they’ll chew on sticks, lick leaves and roll in the grass and meadows. If there are wildflowers in the area, they may run the risk of biting one that will hurt their tummy.

Wildflowers are unlikely to cause fatalities, but they may cause your dog, horse or cat to get seriously ill. Here are a few common toxic wildflowers to watch out for:

Golden Ragwort (Packea aurea)

Golden ragwort

The Golden Ragwort is a semi-evergreen perennial native to America and toxic to dogs. It makes dogs stagger, appear sleepy, and causes vomiting and diarrhea. If left untreated, it can be fatal.

Heart-shaped leaves and yellow flower heads characterize the plant. The pinnate leaves have a pungent smell. Thrives in USDA zones 3-8, under full sunlight and in moist, well-drained, acidic, or neutral soils. 

Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)

Black Nightshade
Solanum nigrum
Black Nightshade Photo by Katja Schulz

Unripe berries of the Black Nightshade are highly toxic if ingested. The plant is found in wooded areas in the US. It is characterized by heart-shaped, serrated leaves and white star-shaped flowers that give way to black or purple berries. It grows well in neutral, well-drained, humus-rich soils. Thrives in USDA zones 3-10. 

Pokeweed (Phytolacca Americana)

Pokeweed (Phytolacca Americana)
Pokeweed. Photo by Cyndy Sims Parr

Pokeweed is a herbaceous perennial native to North America. All its parts are harmful to dogs, humans, and livestock. It can lead to death. Pokeweed occurs naturally in woodland areas.

It is characterized by clusters of green, white flowers which give way to purple-black berries. These fruits are a favorite food source for mockingbirds, northern cardinals, and mourning doves. Thrives in USDA zones 4-9. 

Common Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

Common tansy
Common tansy. Photo by Kurayba

Common Tansy is a perennial wildflower toxic to dogs, cats, and livestock. It contains oils in its leaves and flower, which are lethal when ingested. It occurs naturally along riverbanks in the US.

Yellow, button-like flowers and aromatic foliage blooms in the summer characterize the plant. It thrives in USDA zones 3-8, under full or partial sunlight and in well-drained fertile soils.