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?

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
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

Sunday - March 18, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Is Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) poisonous?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need to know whether any part of Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) is poisonous. Am thinking of planting it at an Elder Day Center for people with memory problems and the director insists - no toxic plants allowed. I looked up this plant in the WFC Explore Plants database and at the bottom of the entry there are several Mr. Smarty Plants Q&As about this plant including about its toxicity - however the links for NOT ONE of the answers worked. They all took me to "page not found" web error messages. I then looked through all 197 of your Q&As about poisonous plants. The links for these answers worked but I did not find any discussion of Crossvine. I have searched on the web and on various poisonous plant databases and found only that Native Americans made a tea from the leaves (per Wildflowers of Southwest (Beauregard Parish) Louisiana. I have not found anything about the flowers. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Below are the toxic plant databases that I generally check for listings of poisonous plants.  Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine) does not appear on any of them.  The fact that it doesn't appear on any of these doesn't guarantee that it is safe to eat or handle; but, since it is a relatively common ornamental plant, it would be logical to assume it would appear on one or more lists if it were dangerously toxic.  Poisonous Plants of North Carolina lists many plants that are mildly toxic and it doesn't appear on that database even as "mildly toxic."

Here are the databases I consulted:

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

University of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants

University of Illinois Veterinary Medicine Library Toxic Plants

Toxic Plants of Texas

California Poison Control System

Another member of the Family Bignoniaceae, Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper), a close relative of Bignonia capreolata that even looks a bit like it, is listed in Poisonous Plants of North Carolina as being mildly toxic if eaten in large quantities and as a minor skin irritant.  The BoDD (Botanical Dermatology Database) lists C. radicans but says that there are "no properly documented case reports" of dermatitis caused by handling C. radicans

So, given the information we have, I would not classify any part of Bignonia capreolata as toxic.

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Are Castor Bean Leaves Toxic to Pets?
September 13, 2014 - I understand that the beans of the castor plant on lethal if chewed on. Are the leaves that toxic? I would love to plant this plant and not let it flower, but I do have visiting grandchildren and dog...
view the full question and answer

Sap from agave causing reactions from Edgewater FL
April 06, 2012 - Not only was I stuck with the century plant thorns and needle like ends when I was digging up its pups, but I also broke the carrot-like root of a few when I was transplanting and got the white sap on...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of Yucca leaves San Marcos, TX
August 19, 2009 - Can you tell me if Yucca constricta leaves are poisonous? I ran into one at night and the next morning had a hive-like, VERY itchy rash.
view the full question and answer

Does non-native Crown of Thorns cause cancer?
August 24, 2013 - Does the plant, Corona De Cristo (Crown of thorns) cause cancer?
view the full question and answer

Non-toxic Groundcover for North-Central Texas
April 07, 2011 - I need a creeping ground cover for shade that is non-toxic to dogs. I had planned on Swedish ivy until I read it was toxic. Is Asian jasmine toxic? Or, do you have any suggestions?
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center