Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Thursday - February 23, 2006

From: Raleigh, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Digestive distress from eating Lonicera sempervirens
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

A friend of mine ate Lonicera sempervirens and it caused a burning sensation in his stomach. What may have caused this sensation?

ANSWER:

Although I couldn't find any sources that listed Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) as toxic, several other species in the Genus Lonicera are mildly toxic. Ingesting Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), native to eastern Asia but now widespread in North America, can cause various symptoms including vomiting, respiratory failure, and convulsions when eaten in large quantities. The toxic components in the vine are saponic and cyanogenic glycosides and the berries contain carotenoids. The nectar, however, can be sipped from the flowers with no ill effects. European fly honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum), native to Europe but also widespread in North America, causes vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pains. Mice injected with berry extract often died. The toxic component appears to be saponin. according to the Canadian Poisonous Plants Database. Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica), native to Asia and southern Russia, is cited in European literature as being toxic.

It is likely that Lonicera sempervirens also contains saponins and these are what caused your friend's gastric distress.
 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Plant identification of tree in North Carolina
September 07, 2011 - I live in North Carolina have found a tree on our property that has thorny branches and round fruit (perfectly round) with a fuzzy outer layer that starts out green but then turns yellow. The inside r...
view the full question and answer

Miami gardener needs to know toxicity of Cordia boissieri
October 12, 2010 - Hello. I have a question about Cordia boissieri. Is it toxic for humans (all parts of the plant)? I want to plant it in South Florida, in an area with children.
view the full question and answer

Will a barrier hedge of Agarita cause any problems for horses and cattle?
January 28, 2009 - Will planting a hedge of Agarita (Mahonia trifoliolata) at the fence line in my blackland prairie pasture cause any problems for my horses and cattle. I am trying to create a sound and sight barrier ...
view the full question and answer

Is any part of Mountain Laurel poisonous to goats from Belton TX
May 02, 2013 - We are considering planting Mountain Laurel in a field where we keep goats. Will any part of the Mountain Laurel be poisonous if eaten by the goats? If it would be poisonous, could you suggest some o...
view the full question and answer

Plum trees (Prunus spp.) poisonous to horses
June 08, 2008 - Are fruitless plum trees poisonous to horses
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.