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?


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 - December 27, 2011

From: Indianapolis, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Is there a vine in Indiana with poisonous thorns?
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I was cut at the left big toe by a brownish/red thorny vine while tracking thru dry grass near the bridge exiting 278. I'm from Indianapolis, in 46208. Was wondering if I was exposed to a poisonous vine. Cleaned up and sanitized well. Nevertheless still swollen after 5 days.


We recently answered the question:  "Are there any plants in North America that possess poisonous thorns?"  The answer for your situation is "no, not really."  My guess is that you ran into a Smilax bona-nox (Saw greenbrier) vine or a long branch of one of the species of Rubus (blackberry, raspberry, dewberry) that grows in Indiana.  These both have formidable thorns on them and hurt a lot if your flesh comes in contact with them.   Their thorns, however, are not poisonous.   Puncture wounds in flesh caused by any sharp object have the potential to get infected from bacteria introduced into the wound.   There could even be a small bit of thorn that broke off in the wound.  If your toe is still swollen, my advice to you is to go see a doctor.


More Poisonous Plants Questions

Laws pertaining to sale of poisonous plants
May 05, 2009 - Are there any laws pertaining to the sale of poisonous plants. do they have to be labeled as poisonous by law?
view the full question and answer

Are black walnut and sugar maple poisonous to alpacas
June 09, 2008 - I have alpacas and wonder if black walnut or sugar maple are poisonous to them.
view the full question and answer

Is Chilopsis linearis poisonous to dogs in Midland, TX?
June 04, 2011 - Is any variety of Chilopsis linearis (particularly bubba bubba) poisonous to animals? I'm thinking about using it as a source of shade for multiple dog kennels in west Texas.
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of wild plums (Prunus angustifolia)
July 28, 2008 - When I bought my land, there was a humongous thicket of wild plums (Prunus angustifolia) approx 10 ft high and covering 5-10 acres. I raise goats, and have known that wild plums (the leaves) can cause...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on poisonous plants
August 03, 2001 - Do you have a list of plants that are poisonous to children and pets?
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center