Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - August 22, 2008

From: McDade, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Plants referred to as Hummingbird plants
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a a plant that is sometimes called a Hummingbird Plant, sometimes a Firecracker plant. I have also seen the name lonicera sempervirens. Are they poisonous? This is a plant, not a vine. Thank you, Marianne

ANSWER:

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) is an evergreen, perennial vine. It attracts hummingbirds, and can be invasive if not kept under control. There is no evidence to indicate that any part of that plant is poisonous, and it is native to North America.

The problem with common names, as opposed to the botanical names, for plants is that you can call a plant anything you want to, and it will mean something else to the next person. There is a plant called Firecracker Plant, Russelia equisetiformis (University of Florida Extension). Another common name for it is Coral Plant. It is a cascading, loose-growing plant, and is not native to North America but to the tropical Americas and Mexico. It is hardy from Zones 9a to 11. Again, no indications of being poisonous.

A plant commonly referred to as "Hummingbird plant" is Dicliptera suberecta (Missouri Botanical Gardens), native to Central and South America. It is hardy in Zones 7a to 11. Still not poisonous, and non-native to North America.

A native to North America, Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed), is a perennial which is a larval host and/or nectar source for Monarch and Queen butterflies. All parts of this plant ARE poisonous.  The butterfly larvae, or caterpillars, are unaffected by the cardiac glycosides produced by the plant, but the butterfly stores the substance, making them distasteful and even dangerous to predators.

In case you are considering planting one of these, McDade, in northern Bastrop County, is about Zones 7b to 8a. The only one of these plants that might not be hardy in your area is  Russelia equisetiformis.

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Plants for dog-safe privacy hedge in Missouri
July 03, 2006 - I live in Missouri and would like to put a "living fence" around my yard for some privacy. Ideally, I want something that is going to grow fast so that I don't have to wait years and years for my ...
view the full question and answer

List of poisonous plants for Bexar County, Texas
January 14, 2014 - I need to know local poisonous plants in Bexar County San Antonio. Please respond soon I'm trying to get Tenderfoot tonight and am doing my board of review.
view the full question and answer

Cenizo safe for consumption by parrots from Phoenix AZ
April 30, 2012 - Could you tell me if Cenizo, (Leucophyllum frutescens) branches and leaves can be fed to pets? (parrots)I read the leaves were often used for tea for humans, but can't find an information if safe fo...
view the full question and answer

Beautyberries not poisonous to cats and dogs from Haddonfield NJ
December 11, 2012 - Are beauty berry plants poisonous to cats/dogs? Would like to use branches w/berries and leaves as indoor decorations.
view the full question and answer

Source for a soapberry in Pittsburgh PA
June 22, 2013 - Flower box Where can I buy a soapberry tree in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.