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If rhododendrons are poison then why do the deer eat them?

Posted by myrtle_59 w PA zone 6 (My Page) on
Tue, May 20, 08 at 12:54

I just ran across this about rhododendrons

"HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN!"

Poisonous parts - all parts

"Salivation, watering of eyes and nose, abdominal pain, loss of energy, depression, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficult breathing, progressive paralysis of arms and legs, coma."

at this site

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/Rhodosp.htm

so if this is true why/how do the deer eat every single one I plant in my yard?
Does any one know more about this?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: If rhododendrons are poison then why do the deer eat them?

Just because a plant is poisonous to humans doesn't mean it is poisonous to deer, apparently. Deer eat a lot of plants that would be considered at least inedible, if not outright toxic to humans. For an example, deer can eat poison ivy, which would probably kill most humans. On the other hand, I think a few things humans eat are supposed to be toxic to a lot of other mammals - chocolate is supposed to be toxic to dogs and rats.


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RE: If rhododendrons are poison then why do the deer eat them?

Of course you are right. Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to dogs.

And ruminants do have a very different digestive system. My brain must have been asleep.


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RE: If rhododendrons are poison then why do the deer eat them?

Sometimes I see rhodos being marketed as deer proof or deer resistant. Apparently, the deer around here did not get the memo.


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RE: If rhododendrons are poison then why do the deer eat them?

Guess it depends on the food available. They chew on my azaleas each winter, but leave the rhodo's alone.


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RE: If rhododendrons are poison then why do the deer eat them?

The deer eat all my 'regular' rhododendrons but do not eat the PJM variety. These are a hybrid that is evergreen in the winter, has a small leaf and has a particular odor to the leaf when you crush it. They are dwarfish. Better than no rhododendrons at all but not the same.


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RE: If rhododendrons are poison then why do the deer eat them?

Years ago my two dogs ate a three-foot rhododendron to the ground and survived. They were not even sick! They also consumed a fairly large c. myrtle,many other plants, and even munched on black walnuts! However, one dog, at the ripe age of 12, apparently ate something that did her in. The other dog continued eating plants and lived to the ripe age of 16+.


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RE: If rhododendrons are poison then why do the deer eat them?

I guess your dogs didn't get the memo about poisonous plants!


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RE: If rhododendrons are poison then why do the deer eat them?

Mountain laurel is poisonous also and they eat that as well although many sources list is as hardly eaten..


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RE: If rhododendrons are poison then why do the deer eat them?

Deer also love (LOVE!!) yews, which are highly poisonous to cattle.


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