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

Are Smilax species toxic?
October 23, 2009 - I have a plant that the agriculture department told me was similax. I have a severe allergic reaction to it, after digging up the roots (potato) and burning them. I had a feeling my lungs inside were ...
view the full question and answer

Can oleander poison the ground below it?
June 29, 2013 - Can oleander poison the ground below it? Would it kill/damage grass or other plants below it? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Are seeds of trumpet vine poisonous from Creston BC
September 12, 2013 - Are the seeds in the trumpet vines pods poisonous to humans or can I use them as dried beans? I have one plant that covers most of my house's south wall. It is a very established plant.
view the full question and answer

Are Cleveland Pear trees in Georgia toxic to horses and/ or dogs?
June 02, 2009 - Are flowering Cleveland Pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) poisonous to horses and/or dogs? I have read that the prunus species are, does that include pear trees? Please help!
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

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