Plants that Mammals Usually Won’t Eat

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Ill.: pvzcc.fandom.com, owips.com & http://www.pngix.com, montage: laidbackgardener.com

Here are some plants that deer, hares, rabbits and other mammals are known to dislike eating. 

The list is not set in stone, however. On one hand, mammals can have very different tastes from one region to another and it is possible that in some they learn to eat things in one area they won’t eat elsewhere. Also, a mammal will eat almost anything when it’s starving, as sometimes happens at the end of a very hard winter or when its local population is too high. However, if the bulk of your gardening is done with the following plants, you should be well on your way to not having to worry about mammal damage!

  1. Aconite, monkshood (Aconitum spp.) perennial
  2. Allium, garlic (Allium spp.) perennial or herb
  3. Amsonia (Amsonia spp.) perennial
  4. Anemone (Anemone spp.) perennial
  5. Anise (Pimpinella anisum) annua herb 
  6. Anise hyssop (Agastache spp.) perennial or annual
  7. Ash (Fraxinus spp.) tree
  8. Astilbe (Astilbespp.) perennial 
  9. Autumn crocus (Colchicum spp.) bulb
  10. Baneberry (Actaeaspp.) perennial 
  11. Barrenwort (Epimedium spp.) perennial
  12. Basket of gold (Aurinia saxatilis) perennial
  13. Bayberry (Myrica spp.) shrub
  14. Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) shrub
  15. Beech (Fagus spp.) tree
  16. Bellflower (Campanula spp.) perennial, annual or biennial
  17. Bergenia (Bergenia spp.) perennial
  18. Betony, lamb’s ear (Stachys spp.) perennial
  19. Bittersweet (Celastrus spp.) climbing plant
  20. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) tree
  21. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.) annual or perennial
  22. Bleeding heart (Dicentra spp.) perennial
  23. Blue fescue (Festuca glauca) grass
  24. Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) grass
  25. Borage (Borago officinalis) annual herb
  26. Box elder (Acer negundo) tree
  27. Boxwood (Buxus spp.) shrub
  28. Broom (Cytisus spp.) shrub
  29. Brugmansia (Brugmansia spp.) annual or tropical shrub
  30. Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla) perennial
  31. Bugbane (Cimicifuga spp.) perennial
  32. Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) perennial
  33. Bush cinqfoil (Dasiphora fruticosa, anc. Potentilla fruticosa) shrub
  34. Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) shrub
  35. Cactus (various genera) succulent
  36. Calla lily (Zantedeschia spp.) tender bulb
  37. Carex (Carex spp.) grass
  38. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) perennial herb
  39. Clematis (Clematis spp.) climbing plant or perennial
  40. Columbine (Aquilegia spp.) perennial
  41. Common heather (Calluna vulgaris) shrub
  42. Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster spp.) shrub
  43. Crabapple (Crataegus spp.) tree
  44. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) perennial
  45. Crown imperial (Fritillaria imperialis) bulb
  46. Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) vegetable
  47. Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) perennial
  48. Currant, gooseberry (Ribes spp.) shrub
  49. Daisy (Leucanthemum spp.) perennial
  50. Dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis) biennial
  51. Daphne (Daphne spp.) shrub
  52. Delphinium (Delphinium spp.) perennial
  53. Dogwood (Cornus spp.) shrub, tree or perennial
  54. Drooping leucothoe (Leucothoe fontaneisana) shrub
  55. Dusty miller (Centaurea cineraria or Senecio bicolor) annual
  56. Elm (Ulmus spp.) tree
  57. Enkianthua (Enkianthus spp.) shrub
  58. Euonymus (Euonymus spp.) shrub
  59. Euphorbia, spurge (Euphorbia spp.) annual, perennial, shrub or succulent
  60. False indigo (Baptisia spp.) perennial
  61. Ferns (most species) fern
  62. Flossflower (Ageratum houstonianum) annual
  63. Foam flower (Tiarella spp.) perennial
  64. Forget-me-not (Myosotis spp.) biennial
  65. Forsythia (Forsythia spp.) shrub
  66. Fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) grass
  67. Foxglove (Digitalis spp.biennial or perennial
  68. Gaillardia (Gaillardia spp.) annual or perennial
  69. Geranium (Geranium spp.) perennial
  70. Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys) perennial
  71. Golden marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria) perennial
  72. Hardy everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) perennial
  73. Hardy sage (Salvia spp.) perennial
  74. Hazel (Corylusspp.) shrub or tree
  75. Helenium (Helenium spp.) perennial
  76. Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) annual or tropical shrub 
  77. Hellebore (Helleborus spp.) perennial
  78. Holly (Ilexspp.) shrub
  79. Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) perennial herb
  80. Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) herb perennial
  81. Iceland poppy (Papaver nudicaule) perennial
  82. Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) grass
  83. Iris (Iris spp.) perennial or bulb
  84. Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema spp.) perennial
  85. Japanese andromeda (Pieris japonica) shrub
  86. Japanese angelica tree (Aralia elata) tree
  87. Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) shrub
  88. Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’) grass 
  89. Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) grass
  90. Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica) shrub
  91. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) tree
  92. Jerusalem sage (Phlomis spp.) perennial or shrub
  93. Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium spp.) perennial
  94. Juniper (Juniperus spp.) conifer
  95. Kalimeris (Kalimeris pinnatifida) perennial
  96. Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) tree
  97. Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) perennial
  98. Lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) perennial
  99. Lantana (Lanata camara) annual or tropical shrub
  100. Larkspur (Consolida spp.) annual 
  101. Lavander (Lavandula angustifolia) herb
  102. Lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus) herb
  103. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) herb perennial
  104. Ligularia (Ligularia spp.) perennial
  105. Lilac (Syringa spp.) shrub
  106. Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) perennial
  107. Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra ‘Italica’) tree
  108. Loosestrife (Lysimachia spp.) perennial
  109. Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.) perennial 
  110. Lupine (Lupinus spp.) perennial
  111. Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus rosea) annual
  112. Magnolia (Magnolia spp.) tree
  113. Maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis) grass
  114. Meadow rue (Thalictrum spp.) perennial
  115. Meadowsweet, queen of the prairie (Filipendula spp.) perennial
  116. Mint (Mentha spp.) herb
  117. Monarda, beebalm (Monarda spp.) perennial
  118. Morning glory (Ipomoea spp.) annual
  119. Mountain bluet, perennial bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea montana) perennial
  120. Mountain laurel (Kalmia spp.) shrub
  121. Muscari, grape hyacinth (Muscari spp.) bulb
  122. Narcissus, daffodill (Narcissus spp.) bulb
  123. Nepeta, catmint (Nepeta spp.) perennial
  124. Nicotiana, flowering tobbacco (Nicotiana spp.) annual
  125. Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) grass
  126. Oleander (Nerium oleander) shrub
  127. Onion (Allium cepa) vegetable
  128. Oregano (Origanum vulgare) herb
  129. Oregon-grape (Mahonia spp.) shrub
  130. Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis) perennial
  131. Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) tree
  132. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) biennial herb
  133. Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) perennial
  134. Pincushion flower (Scabiosa spp.) annual or perennial
  135. Pine (Pinus spp.) conifer
  136. Plum yew (Cephalotaxus spp.) conifer
  137. Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) annual
  138. Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepsis) grass
  139. Prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) succulent
  140. Pumpkin, squash (Cucurbita spp.) vegetable
  141. Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) shrub
  142. Red valeriane (Centranthus ruber) perennial
  143. Rock-cress (Arabis caucasia) perennial
  144. Rose (spiny types) (Rosa rugosaR. spinosissima, etc.) shrub
  145. Rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) perennial
  146. Rosmary (Rosmarinus officinalis) herb
  147. Rue (Ruta officinalis) perennial herb
  148. Rue anemone (Anemonella thalictroides) perennial
  149. Rush (Juncus effusus) grass
  150. Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) tree
  151. Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) perennial
  152. Sage (Salvia officinalis) herb
  153. Sedum (Sedumspp.) perennial
  154. Shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa, syn. Potentilla fruticosa) shrub
  155. Siberian cypress (Microbiota decussata) conifer
  156. Siberian squill (Scilla siberica) bulb
  157. Silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) tree
  158. Silver birch (Betula pendula) tree
  159. Silverberry (Elaeagnus commutata) shrub
  160. Skimmia (Skimmia japonica) shrub
  161. Smokebush (Cotinus coggyria) shrub
  162. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) annual
  163. Snowdrop (Galanthus spp.) bulb
  164. Soapwort (Saponaria oxymoides) perennial
  165. Spiderflower (Cleome spp.) annual
  166. Spirea (Spirea spp) shrub
  167. Spotted deadnettle (Lamium maculatum) perennial
  168. Spruce (Piceaspp.) conifer
  169. Statice (Limonium spp.) perennial or annual
  170. Strawflower (Helichrysum spp.) annual
  171. Summer snowflake (Leucojum spp.) bulb
  172. Sweet alyssum (Ligularia maritima) annual
  173. Sweet flag (Acorus spp.) perennial
  174. Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) perennial
  175. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) grass
  176. Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) herb
  177. Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) perennial herb
  178. Thyme (Thymusspp.) herb
  179. Tradescantia (Tradescantia x andersoniana) perennial
  180. Tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) shrub
  181. Verbena (Verbena spp.) annual
  182. Viburnum (Viburnum spp.) shrub
  183. Wild ginger (Asarum spp.) perennial
  184. Winter heather (Erica carnea) shrub
  185. Winter savory (Satureja montana) herb
  186. Wisteria (Wisteria spp.) climbing plant
  187. Wormwood, sagewort (silver-leafed species) (Artemisia spp.) perennial or shrub
  188. Yarrow (Achillea spp.) perennial
  189. Yellow corydalis (Corydalis lutea) perennial
  190. Yellow waxbells (Kirengeshoma spp.) perennial
  191. Yucca (Yucca spp.) perennial or shrub
  192. Zinnia (Zinnia spp.) annual

3 thoughts on “Plants that Mammals Usually Won’t Eat

  1. Unfortunately as a former bunny owner I can vouch that there is very little that a bunny wont try and eat and mine would eat all herbs and vegetables except onions and asparagus. They were especially fond of strawberry, raspberry and black berry leaves. Free range pet bunnies will even climb if the branches are low enough to reach to nab apples and buddleia! Wild rabbits are a bit more sensible but they will still have a go at most young trees so need to protect them at the bottom, even Yew (not toxic to rabbits). I think often the best defence is to protect very young plants (they don’t like older leaves) and exclusion although baby bunnies can even climb chicken wire fences.

  2. Patricia Evans

    Well, as you say, there are regional exceptions to your list. Here, in western NY, at least a dozen of these plants are regularly demolished or heavily pruned by the deer and sometimes the rabbits. As the first commenter noted, young plants are especially vulnerable. I’ve pretty much given up the battle.

  3. It is probably more important for the wildlife to read this list than for us to read it. Deer seem to think that the list of plants that they are not supposed to eat is actually a menu.

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