Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Tuesday - December 27, 2011

From: Indianapolis, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Is there a vine in Indiana with poisonous thorns?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I was cut at the left big toe by a brownish/red thorny vine while tracking thru dry grass near the bridge exiting 278. I'm from Indianapolis, in 46208. Was wondering if I was exposed to a poisonous vine. Cleaned up and sanitized well. Nevertheless still swollen after 5 days.

ANSWER:

We recently answered the question:  "Are there any plants in North America that possess poisonous thorns?"  The answer for your situation is "no, not really."  My guess is that you ran into a Smilax bona-nox (Saw greenbrier) vine or a long branch of one of the species of Rubus (blackberry, raspberry, dewberry) that grows in Indiana.  These both have formidable thorns on them and hurt a lot if your flesh comes in contact with them.   Their thorns, however, are not poisonous.   Puncture wounds in flesh caused by any sharp object have the potential to get infected from bacteria introduced into the wound.   There could even be a small bit of thorn that broke off in the wound.  If your toe is still swollen, my advice to you is to go see a doctor.

 

More Vines Questions

Is the fruit of Melothria pendula edible?
November 22, 2014 - Is the fruit of Melothria pendula edible?
view the full question and answer

Finicky Trumpet Vine in Stockdale Texas
June 06, 2011 - I need help dealing with a very old trumpet vine. It was my grandmothers and she died in 79. It's always been beautiful till 99 when my grandmothers house burned down. It was right behind it. It cam...
view the full question and answer

I need an evergreen vine to hide an ugly fence.
February 24, 2009 - I am looking to find a vine that will be on my south facing fence. I would like it to be evergreen as to hide my ugly fence.
view the full question and answer

Plants under Oak Trees in Austin TX
December 10, 2012 - Half of my small yard is in the shade of one big live oak and one kumquat. Nothing I plant grows in this shade. The other half of my yard gets sunlight. It is planted with Jasmine grass which grows w...
view the full question and answer

Opinion of 5 best native garden plants in Oklahoma from Burneyville OK
September 07, 2013 - What would you say are the 3 to 5 BEST native garden plants for south central Oklahoma?
view the full question and answer

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