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

Petals of flowers on cake from London
August 28, 2010 - Hi could you confirm that Gemini, Lisianthus and Lilies are non toxic if positioned onto a fresh cream cake (stem will be paced into a vial but the petals will come into contact with the cream). Thank...
view the full question and answer

Plant with dark black/purple berries in a cluster
November 06, 2012 - Today at our local dog park we noticed a bush/vine that's been growing up the fence is producing berries. It didn't flower at all. The berries look to have started out green and now are changing t...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of non-native red-tip photinia to fish from Friendswood TX
April 10, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have seen several questions on Red Tip Photinia (RTP) concerning toxicity to horses, dogs and children. We recently lost over 100 gold fish and 6 large KOI in our man made back ...
view the full question and answer

Do palm trees put off a toxic smoke when burnt?
December 09, 2008 - do palm trees put off a toxic smoke when burnt
view the full question and answer

Poisonous plant in Ohio with hydrangea-like flower
June 09, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I was sure that I had read that there is a poisonous bush that is native to Ohio that has flowers something like a white hydrangea..or was it queen ann's lace? I believe the ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center