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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - September 12, 2013

From: Creston, BC
Region: Canada
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Are seeds of trumpet vine poisonous from Creston BC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Are the seeds in the trumpet vines pods poisonous to humans or can I use them as dried beans? I have one plant that covers most of my house's south wall. It is a very established plant.

ANSWER:

For openers, this USDA Plant Profile Map does not show Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper) growing in British Columbia at all, but only Manitoba in Canada. That doesn't mean it doesn't grow in British Columbia, it just hasn't been reported growing there. If you follow the plant link above to our webpage on the plant, you will see that no mention of poisonous seeds is given or, indeed, any poisonous part on the plant. However, this statement is included on that page: 

"Warning: The sap of this plant can cause skin irritation on contact."

So, we decided to search a little further as to the edibility of the beans (seeds) of this plant. We discovered that while the seeds grew in pods, Campsis radicans pods produced numerous, papery, and small seeds (696 seeds/pod) on average. So, it is not really a bean, per se, like members of the Fabiaceae family would produce. See the second and third pictures, below, from our Image Gallery, to see what the Trumpet Creeper seed pods and seeds actually look like. Except for the warning about the irritation of the sap, we could find no indication that the plant had any poisonous parts, but we don't think these seeds would produce a very tasty batch of beans like lima or pinto beans.

 

From the Image Gallery


Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

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