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 Vines Questions

How to get rid of invasive vine
November 14, 2007 - We moved into our very old (300+ year house) several years ago and I am slowly getting round to cleaning up and replanting flower beds. When I cleared the space to grow clematis along a fence in the b...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing vines for the Texas Hill Country
January 17, 2015 - What are the best fast-growing vines for our Hill Country location? The vine will be growing on a stucco wall, so we don't want the vine to grow into the stucco and destroy it. Location has morning ...
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

Planting Wisteria frutescens Against a House in Wisconsin
October 01, 2015 - I have a question about Wisteria frutescens ('Amethyst Falls'). I know it's far less aggressive than the non-native species, but how aggressive is its root system? Can I plant it close to my house ...
view the full question and answer

Plants wilting too quickly in Toledo OH
May 27, 2012 - The garden I have had recent issues with plants wilting all too quickly. I would like to know what types of plants would be hearty for the climate in Toledo, Ohio. I have a partly sunny front yard and...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center