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Mr. Smarty Plants - Wisteria and Non-Poisonous Native Vines

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Wednesday - February 15, 2012

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Wisteria and Non-Poisonous Native Vines
Answered by: Becky Ruppel

QUESTION:

I'm from central Texas and I'm wanting to plant a native vine that will work well around the public, mainly kids. It's a mostly sunny trellis that makes an arch. I'd like to plant the native Wisteria. What is the native species? Are the seeds to our native Wisteria poisonous?

ANSWER:

The native North American Wisteria is Wisteria frutescens and according to several poisonous plant databases all Wisteria species have poisonous seeds and vegetation.  There are some other species of native climbing vines that you could plant if you are concerned about your children or pets ingesting parts of the vine or seeds.

Passion vine or Maypop has attractive purple flowers and doesn't show up in any of the poisonous plants databases.  This vine is fast growing, drought tolerant, and thrives in sunny spots.  However, this vine is deciduous. 

If you are looking for something that has a sweet fragrance like Wisteria there is a native honeysuckle that would be good option.  Coral Honeysuckle has nice red blooms, produces flowers best in full sun, and is evergreen in southern habitats.  Japanese Honeysuckle does show up in one of the poisonous plant databases below, but the native species listed above isn't in any of the databases. 

If you want to explore other options, I encourage you to visit the Wildflower Center’s Recommended Species page for Central Texas.  On right of the page, you will see options to narrow your search.  Select “vine” from the General Appearance dropdown menu and check the “sun” box under Light Requirement and browse the results.  You could also do a "combination search" on the Native Plant Database (this will give you a lot more options).  Choose "Texas" from the State or Province drop down menu, in the Habit dropdown menu choose "vine", and check the "sun" box under Light Requirement.  If you find a vine you like and want to know if it is poisonous you can search for it in these poisonous plants databases: 

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants Page

Toxic Plants of Texas

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

 

From the Image Gallery




Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

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