En Español

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

Tough, Non-toxic Vine to Cover Fence in Washington
February 16, 2014 - I have about 150 feet of 6-foot high chain link fence that I would like to cover with a vine for privacy. I really want an evergreen or semi-evergreen plant that requires very little care. I also don...
view the full question and answer

Will Canada geese eat Asclepias tuberosa from Cape May Court, NJ
May 20, 2014 - Will Canada geese eat my butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)? I know this plant is deer resistant. I really want to plant some on sandy bank near pond in my back yard, but I fear the geese will ...
view the full question and answer

Is Texas Mountain Laurel Honey Toxic in Fulshear, TX?
March 11, 2012 - Toxicity of Texas Mountain Laurel HONEY I know the seeds and leaves of the Tx Mountain Laurel are toxic. But, is honey that comes from the Mountain Laurel toxic too? I heard that it is, but can'...
view the full question and answer

Is Lemon Cypress toxic?
August 15, 2012 - Is the Lemon Cypress toxic?
view the full question and answer

Replacing Drought-Stricken Cedars
January 16, 2012 - Hello, I live in Williamson County on a couple acres. We have several dead cedars as a result of drought; we're reluctant to cut them down because many of them provide a friendly barrier between us...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center