Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Are bald cypress cones toxic to dogs?
October 27, 2013 - Are bald cypress tree seed pods poisonous? to dogs? We just got a rescue dog and we go out in the yard with her. But now that we are into fall and the pods are falling. She goes right to them. Are...
view the full question and answer

Damaged leaves on bottlebrush buckeye from Glen Mills PA
June 09, 2013 - My recently planted bottlebrush buckeye plants' leaves are looking damaged but it doesn't look like insect or fungus damage. They look battered by wind but I don't understand why that would happen...
view the full question and answer

Trimming Texas mountain laurel in Austin
August 27, 2009 - Is there a specific time to trim established mountain laurels? Should I cut off the dried seed pods since they are weighing down the branches?
view the full question and answer

Fast growing trees in Idaho
April 10, 2008 - I want to plant fast-growing trees on my property in Idaho. What trees are poisonous to horses and dogs? I am particularly interested in the Royal Empress (Paulowmia) tree and the dogwood tree.
view the full question and answer

Digestive distress from eating Lonicera sempervirens
February 23, 2006 - A friend of mine ate Lonicera sempervirens and it caused a burning sensation in his stomach. What may have caused this sensation?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.