I'd like to plant plants/trees/shrubs along the sidewalk on the roads to improve the landscaping and general appearance. However, I live in Gurgaon, India and it is common to see livestock (cows, goats, etc.) on the roads.

In order to prevent my plants from being eaten up by livestock, I'd like to use only those plants that the animals avoid eating. I'd also like them to be non-poisonous, just in case some actually do happen to nibble a bit.

What kind of plants/trees/shrubs fit the above requirements and will grow well in my city?

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    I'm not the downvoter, but some people downvote when they should instead flag or cast a close vote. I'm guessing that the downvoter thinks this is off-topic. I have two questions to clarify your question: (1) what's the difference between cows and other cattle? (I thought cows were cattle, maybe your definition of cattle is broader?) (2) Can I assume you don't want poisonous plants (which by definition are not edible), but instead are looking for plants that cattle don't prefer? Have you googled for stock proof hedge?
    – bstpierre
    Dec 19, 2011 at 12:21
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    @bstpierre 1. Not all people on this Earth are native English speakers, so the communication gaps are possible. 2. Cow is a type of cattle, AFAIK, goats can also be cattle? 3. I have seen lots of shrubs on the road side here which the cattle don't eat. 4. I don't think that those plants are poisonous since the Govt. won't allow those plants on the road side. 5. e.g. Rubber plant is not edible by cows? Is it? 6. No, I hAven't heard anything about stock proof, will search that. Dec 19, 2011 at 13:28
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    There was no malice or sarcasm intended in my comment. I asked so that we could understand each other -- not even all native English speakers use the same words (Brits and Americans don't even agree that the "first floor" is on ground level). In the US, goats are not cattle; I might presume that by cattle you mean ruminants (cows, goats, sheep, etc). I don't know much about this topic, so I can't answer, the only help I can offer was the pointer to the hedge search.
    – bstpierre
    Dec 19, 2011 at 13:41

3 Answers 3


Livestock will favour legumes over something taller with more cellulouse to digest. So instead of planting just one kind of plant on the sidewalks, might I suggest you plant two kinds at least. First, something tough and not very delicious like Mondo grass or agapanthus in the background. Then, sprinkled in the foreground, clover or soft grass (e.g. couch) in the foreground.

The animals might be tempted to nibble the background plant if they were desperate but hopefully that never happens due to the presence of the foreground plant. That way passing livestock will almost certainly let the background plants become well established even if they do damage the foreground plant. And once established, occasional munching won't hurt them.

In the ideal world, at some point an equilibrium would form so that the clover grows fast enough to supply passing livestock and the background plant maintains its place more or less left alone.

Disclaimer: I have no idea how suitable the above mentioned plants are for a monsoonal climate, but with some local advice you could adjust the species according to the general concept.


Cattle will not eat Beautyberry (Callicarpa) or Erythrina herbacea.

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    Mark, is this from personal experience, or have you found this information online somewhere? If from personal experience, a bit more information on how you verified this would help. If you found this online, a link or a quote from the source would help round out your answer.
    – TeresaMcgH
    Aug 7, 2014 at 18:11
  • And...are you familiar with India? With not only plants, climate and soils but their customs, religions...? For those that are upvoting this answer, do you also agree and have experience with cattle and what they will and won't eat? J.Musser...have you any suggestions here since you are familiar with cattle and their foodstuff?
    – stormy
    Aug 10, 2014 at 9:26

Sugar-apple (Sitafal, the fruit of Annona squamosa), Plumeria (Champa), Butea monosperma (Palash, flame-of-the-forest), Agave sisalana (sisal), Phoenix sylvestris (Khajuri, silver date palm), Nerium oleander (oleander), Alstonia scholaris (saptaparni, blackboard tree).

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