En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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

Tuesday - October 27, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Is Parthenocissus heptaphylla poisonous?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi, I have a simple question for you, but I can't seem to find the answer to it. Is Parthenocissus heptaphylla toxic the way the VA creeper is? From what I've read, they're very similar in many ways, but I'd prefer something non-toxic, since I have small kiddos around. I'm looking for a climbing vine-type plant for our pergola. I'm in San Antonio.

ANSWER:

We could find no specific information for the possible toxicity of Parthenocissus heptaphylla (sevenleaf creeper).  However, we would recommend that you assume that it is poisonous since it is very closely related to Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper).  Because Sevenleaf creeper has a much smaller native range and is a much less well known species, there is simply not as much literature about it.  It's probable toxicity aside, Sevenleaf creeper makes a very fine pergola plant.  Another otherwise fine pergola plant is Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria).  Unfortunately, it and all members of its genus bear poisonous fruit.  Another nice pergola plant, Berchemia scandens (Alabama supplejack) also produces poisonous berries as does Bignonia capreolata (crossvine).  Are you noticing a pattern?  Many vines, for some reason, are poisonous.

Your best bet for a woody vine might be one of the native grapes that grow in your area.  While the fruit of Vitis mustangensis (mustang grape) is edible, you should not eat very many of them due to their high acid content which can burn the throat.  Other species, like Vitis monticola (sweet mountain grape) and Vitis cinerea var. helleri (Heller's grape) produce edible fruit on attractive vines.  A cousin of the grapes, Ampelopsis arborea (peppervine) produces edible, but not very tasty fruit.  However, it does make a very attractive pergola vine.

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Plants to replace poison ivy and brush
June 23, 2008 - I am right next to a highway in Paradise, CA 95969. I am having brush and poison oak removed in that area and want to plant something fast growing and draught resistant. I am thinking about Oleander...
view the full question and answer

Flying insects eating leaves of non-native Brugmansia in Aline CA
October 17, 2013 - I have an Angel Trumpet tree. We live in Aline, California 30 miles east of San Diego. Little yellow and black flying bugs eat the leaves. Do you have a remedy for this problem.
view the full question and answer

Mosaic virus in Poke Salad in East Texas
April 20, 2008 - I live in a rural East Texas, and have an abundance of Poke Salad. If you know how to prepare it, it's a springtime treat for anyone who enjoys veggies. However, for the last few years, many of the o...
view the full question and answer

Is scarlet buckeye (Aesculus pavia) poisonous?
December 01, 2008 - Is a scarlet buckeye poisonous? Anna
view the full question and answer

Is non-native Ixora poisonous to horses?
June 26, 2013 - My horse was eating an ixora bush at a park in south florida. Is the Ixora shrub poisonous to horses?
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center