En Español

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

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 Vines Questions

Identity of vine with green flowers
November 03, 2012 - What is this trailing plant with half inch green flowers with gold metallic centers? Looks like a milkweed plant or gourd plant of some kind. I found it off Hamilton Pool road. West of Austin TX
view the full question and answer

Need advice ab out raspberry root in Merced CA
February 14, 2015 - I planted a raspberry root the day that it started raining hard. I was just concerned about the root rotting since there is so much rain going on lately. Will I need to replace it or will the root...
view the full question and answer

Climbing Vine for Illinois That is Non-Toxic to Dogs
May 31, 2013 - I am looking for a climbing vine hardy in Illinois (zone 5) that it non-toxic to dogs. Can you help?
view the full question and answer

Trumpet vines on wall in Longmont CO
May 18, 2010 - I purchased three trumpet vines to plant on the NW wall of my house back in 2002. Although the leaves are a beautiful healthy dark green, none of them have ever bloomed despite regular fertilizing pe...
view the full question and answer

Plants to cover rock wall in Pennsylvania
July 10, 2008 - Please recommend plants that I could use to plant on the (full sun) slightly sloped ground space above a 3 foot high, 20 foot long unattractive stone wall that would grow over and down to cover the wa...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center