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

Thursday - February 23, 2006

From: Raleigh, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Digestive distress from eating Lonicera sempervirens
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

A friend of mine ate Lonicera sempervirens and it caused a burning sensation in his stomach. What may have caused this sensation?

ANSWER:

Although I couldn't find any sources that listed Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) as toxic, several other species in the Genus Lonicera are mildly toxic. Ingesting Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), native to eastern Asia but now widespread in North America, can cause various symptoms including vomiting, respiratory failure, and convulsions when eaten in large quantities. The toxic components in the vine are saponic and cyanogenic glycosides and the berries contain carotenoids. The nectar, however, can be sipped from the flowers with no ill effects. European fly honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum), native to Europe but also widespread in North America, causes vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pains. Mice injected with berry extract often died. The toxic component appears to be saponin. according to the Canadian Poisonous Plants Database. Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica), native to Asia and southern Russia, is cited in European literature as being toxic.

It is likely that Lonicera sempervirens also contains saponins and these are what caused your friend's gastric distress.
 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Spreading Poison Oak to Clothes and Shoes
May 31, 2013 - I had a poison oak rash about 2 years ago and during that time I had to attend a wedding. At the wedding I wore a pair of dress shoes and a pair of cowboy boots. Can I wear these shoes again? Is there...
view the full question and answer

Dog Friendly Privacy Hedge for Long Island
April 14, 2013 - Can you please advise me of some plants for a privacy hedge that are non-toxic to dogs and that would thrive on Long Island, NY? I am looking for a hedge to grow to about 6-8 ft.
view the full question and answer

Are globe mallows (Sphaeralcea spp.) harmful to dogs
May 20, 2010 - My dogs eat the wild globe mallow plants in my yard. Could that be harmful to them?
view the full question and answer

Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
November 12, 2012 - Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
view the full question and answer

Recommended plants for horse farm in Lansford PA
April 22, 2010 - Recently started a small horse farm in northeast Pennsylvania just east of the Pocono Mountain plateau. Located in a foggy valley adjacent to a lake. Snowy, cold winters; wet springs; dry summers; ni...
view the full question and answer

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