Is Mexican petunia safe?

Evereigh Mann

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Hello fellow Florida people--

Are we certain that Ruellia Simplex/Purple Showers/Mexican Petunia is safe for the Redfoot...? My yard is filled with this (invasive) plant (that I wish I never got involved with) though as I always believed it to be toxic, I have kept my tortoises away from it.

Can some of you attest to the fact that your tortoises have eaten this flower/plant with no problems?
 

turtlesteve

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I have fed the flowers to my baby leopard tortoises since July, about once or twice a week, with no observed toxicity. I have never offered the leaves.
 

Maro2Bear

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Hello fellow Florida people--

Are we certain that Ruellia Simplex/Purple Showers/Mexican Petunia is safe for the Redfoot...? My yard is filled with this (invasive) plant (that I wish I never got involved with) though as I always believed it to be toxic, I have kept my tortoises away from it.

Can some of you attest to the fact that your tortoises have eaten this flower/plant with no problems?
@ZEROPILOT - might know best. In Florida and a master keeper of Redfoot.

I didnt realize how invasive it is....but at least it has a pretty flower. I wish we had an invasive flowering plant here! We have kudzu vine, poison ivy and garlic mustard weeds.

➡➡ Mexican petunias are actually Ruellia simplex, fast-growing perennials with green to purple stems and green leaves. The wild, invasive form of this plant is so aggressive, it’s banned in some states, and it’s on a watch list of invasive plants in others. The state of Florida lists Mexican petunias as “highly invasive.”
 

Markw84

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Wild Petunia/Mexican Petunia - Ruellia ssp Is listed as a totally safe food even in the TortoiseTable.org.uk which is extremely conservative in listing safe plants. The wild petunia is totally safe and a good tortoise food.

I believe the issues of possible toxicity may be because the Petunia we all think of and see as the most popular garden plant is in a totally different family and is the same family as nightshade. So many caution against feeding too much. However, even "regular" petunias are frequently used as part of a varied diet for many tortoises, including mine. THere has never been a reported toxicity issue even with the regular petunia with tortoises.

Petunia wild.jpg
 
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ZEROPILOT

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@ZEROPILOT - might know best. In Florida and a master keeper of Redfoot.

I didnt realize how invasive it is....but at least it has a pretty flower. I wish we had an invasive flowering plant here! We have kudzu vine, poison ivy and garlic mustard weeds.

➡➡ Mexican petunias are actually Ruellia simplex, fast-growing perennials with green to purple stems and green leaves. The wild, invasive form of this plant is so aggressive, it’s banned in some states, and it’s on a watch list of invasive plants in others. The state of Florida lists Mexican petunias as “highly invasive.”
Thanks for the endorsement.
But I'm certainly the master of nothing.
I'm just a guy who has observations from keeping Redfoot for about 25/30 years now.
My Redfoot stay in their pens 99% of the time. And when they free range seem to be very particular about what they'll eat.
My knowledge of plants is very small. But I've always let my RF eat whatever they find. And I've never had an issue with that.
Maybe I'm lucky?
Maybe they can tell?
They aren't really big on grazing.
 

Evereigh Mann

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Thank you, MarkW84. The petunia examples shown on the tortoisetable.org.uk site are not at all the same as the "Purple Showers" strand of Ruellia Simplex that we have in Florida, and hence my question.


Wild Petunia/Mexican Petunia - Ruellia ssp Is listed as a totally safe food even in the TortoiseTable.org.uk which is extremely conservative in listing safe plants. The wild petunia is totally safe and a good tortoise food.

I believe the issues of possible toxicity may be because the Petunia we all think of and see as the most popular garden plant is in a totally different family and is the same family as nightshade. So many caution against feeding too much. However, even "regular" petunias are frequently used as part of a varied diet for many tortoises, including mine. THere has never been a reported toxicity issue even with the regular petunia with tortoises.

View attachment 306983
 

Markw84

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Thank you, MarkW84. The petunia examples shown on the tortoisetable.org.uk site are not at all the same as the "Purple Showers" strand of Ruellia Simplex that we have in Florida, and hence my question.
That I why I answered with the exact image from TortoiseTable as it lists "Ruellia spp" which means all the various species of Ruellia as safe. THe simplex is the more upright species and is (or is quite close to) the 3rd and 4th picture listed.

A picture of what you are asking about is helpful. I assume since you did list it as R. simplex it is this one:

Ruellia simplex.jpg
 

Evereigh Mann

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Hello Markw84--

Yes; mine looks exactly like that, though it's a sterile strand created by the U of Florida called Purple Showers. All these years I thought it was toxic.

Hope all is well up in Sacramento.
 
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