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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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Tuesday - July 23, 2013

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Is Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine) known to cause skin irritation
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata L.) known to cause a rash? We are trying to identify the source of a rash-after-gardening, and have not seen any of the big three (poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac). We do have some invasive vines growing in from a back alley, mostly morning glory. Some of the plants seem to be trumpet vine while some are similar in flower but have different leaves. The descriptions of cross vine seem closest so far to the vine in the locations of the work that preceded the rash.

ANSWER:

I could find no source that said Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine) caused dermatitis of any sort.  However, I did find several other vines that could be candidates.

The Botanical Dermatology Database (BoDD) says:

"A number of texts refer to dermatitis caused by handling the flowers or leaves of Campsis radicans ... but there appear to be no properly documented case reports."

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation also says that Campsis radicans causes dermatitis in some people.  They give one of its common names as "cow-itch vine". DermatologistsBlog.com also says that Campsis radicans can cause rash in some people.

The tubers can cause dermatitis in some people according to Xeriscape-Today.  

The BoDD gives information for several Cissus sp. that say they can cause dermatitis, but Cissus triofoliata is not mentioned.

According to the Poison Ivy, Oak, & Sumac Information Center, Cissus trifoliata can cause dermatitis in some people.

You can find more about people who are allergic to Cissus trifoliata on the blog Window on a Texas Wildscape.

University of California's Safe and Poisonous Garden Plants lists Gelsemium sempervirens with two toxicity classes:

1.  Major Toxicity: These plants may cause serious illness or death.

4.  Dermatitis: The juice, sap, or thorns of these plants may cause a skin rash or irritation.

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Cow-itch vine
Cissus trifoliata

Cow-itch vine
Cissus trifoliata

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

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