Is trumpet vine poisonous?

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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


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.


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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Campsis radicans

  • Attributes: Genus: Campsis Species: radicans Family: Bignoniacea Life Cycle: Woody Recommended Propagation Strategy: Root Cutting Seed Country Or Region Of Origin: Central & E. U.S.A Fire Risk Rating: extreme flammability Wildlife Value: The flowers are attractive to hummingbirds which are the principal pollinator of this plant. White-tailed deer and rabbits eat the foliage. Play Value: Attractive Flowers Attracts Pollinators Easy to Grow Wildlife Food Source Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems): Moderately resistant to deer, drought, heat, and compaction Climbing Method: Clinging Dimensions: Height: 30 ft. 0 in. – 40 ft. 0 in. Width: 4 ft. 0 in. – 10 ft. 0 in.

  • Whole Plant Traits: Plant Type: Native Plant Poisonous Vine Leaf Characteristics: Deciduous Habit/Form: Climbing Dense Multi-stemmed Spreading Growth Rate: Rapid Maintenance: High Texture: Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions: Light: Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day) Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours) Soil Texture: High Organic Matter Sand Soil Drainage: Good Drainage Moist Occasionally Dry NC Region: Coastal Mountains Piedmont Usda Plant Hardiness Zone: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit: Fruit Color: Brown/Copper Display/Harvest Time: Fall Fruit Type: Capsule Fruit Length: > 3 inches Fruit Width: < 1 inch Fruit Description: long, bean-like seed capsules (3-5” long) which split open when ripe releasing numerous 2-winged seeds for dispersal by the wind
  • Flowers: Flower Color: Gold/Yellow Orange Red/Burgundy Flower Inflorescence: Cyme Flower Value To Gardener: Showy Flower Bloom Time: Summer Flower Shape: Trumpet Tubular Flower Size: 1-3 inches Flower Description: The Trumpet creeper has clusters (terminal cymes) of red trumpet-shaped flowers (to 3” long) that appear throughout the summer (June to September). Its flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds.
  • Leaves: Leaf Characteristics: Deciduous Leaf Color: Green Deciduous Leaf Fall Color: Gold/Yellow Leaf Type: Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately) Leaf Arrangement: Opposite Leaf Shape: Elliptical Oblong Leaf Margin: Serrate Hairs Present: No Leaf Length: > 6 inches Leaf Width: > 6 inches Leaf Description: Its compound, odd-pinnate leaves (to 15” long) are shiny dark green above and glabrous dull green below. Each leaf has 7 to 11 elliptic to oblong leaflets (to 4″ long) with serrated margins. The leaves turn yellow in the fall.
  • Bark: Bark Color: Light Brown Bark Description: pale brown and scaly
  • Stem: Stem Is Aromatic: No
  • Landscape: Landscape Location: Naturalized Area Landscape Theme: Native Garden Pollinator Garden Attracts: Bees Hummingbirds Pollinators Songbirds Resistance To Challenges: Compaction Deer Drought Heat Problems: Contact Dermatitis Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans: Poison Severity: Low Poison Symptoms: Skin irritation with redness and swelling Poison Toxic Principle: Unidentified Causes Contact Dermatitis: Yes Poison Part: Flowers Leaves

Deadly Beauty – Hidden Poisons in Your Yard

As spring draws near many of us are drawn to planting beautiful gardens and hours of outdoor play with our pets. This Month my posts will focus on backyard safety with your pet. While your yard is a great place for your dog to hang out, many pet owners are unaware of the number of species of plants that are potentially poisonous to our dogs. This is also the time of year many of us decorate our homes with beautiful bouquets of cut flowers. All species of lily are potentially fatal to cats. When sending a floral arrangement, specify that it contain no lilies if the recipient has a cat or dog—and when receiving an arrangement, sift through and remove all dangerous flora.

Dogs, especially puppies, love to chew on fun stuff they find in the yard! If your pet is suffering from symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea, he may have ingested an offending flower or plant. Here is a list of plants commonly found to be toxic to pets. Please note that the following is not a complete list. If you have a particular plant in mind for your home or yard, you should thoroughly research it first. Use the ASPCA’s online toxic and nontoxic plant libraries as visual guides of what and what not should be in your bouquets and gardens. If you suspect your pet has come into contact with a potential toxin, please contact your vet or poison control immediately.

US Poison Control Hotline (Human) 1-800-222-1222 Free

Pet Poison Control 888-232-8870 $35 fee

ASPCA Veterinary Poison Control (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.

Plants Poisonous to Dogs

One that really surprised me · Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)

Aloe Aloe vera vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, tremors, change in urine color
Amaryllis Amaryllis sp. vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, abdominal pain, excessive salivation, tremors
Apple and Crabapple Malus sylvestrus seeds, stems and leaves can result in red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting and shock
Autumn Crocus/Meadow Saffron Colchicum autumnale oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, organ damage, bone marrow suppression
Azalea/Rhododendron Rhododendron spp. vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, weakness, coma, death
Calla Lily/Trumpet Lily/Arum Lily Zantedeschia aethiopica oral irritation and pain, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Castor Bean/Castor Oil Plant Ricinus communis oral irritation and burning, increased thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure, convulsions; Note: beans are highly toxic
Chrysanthemum/Mum/Daisy Chrysanthemum spp. vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, loss of coordination, dermatitis
Cyclamen Cyclamen spp. excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias, seizures, death
Daffodil/Narcissus Narcissus spp. vomiting, salvation, diarrhea, convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, heart arrhythmias
Dumbcane Dieffenbachia oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Elephant Ears Caladium hortulanum and Colocasia esculenta oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
English Ivy Hedera helix vomiting, abdominal pain, excessive salivation, diarrhea
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea heart arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, death
Hosta Hosta plataginea vomiting, diarrhea, depression
Hyacinth Hyacinthus orientalis vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors
Hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens vomiting, diarrhea, depression
Iris Iris species excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy
Lily of the Valley Convallaria majalis vomiting, irregular heart beat, low blood pressure, disorientation, coma, seizures
Marijuana/Hashish Cannabis sativa depression, vomiting, loss of coordination, excessive salivation, dilated pupils, low blood pressure, low body temperature, seizure, coma
Mistletoe/American Mistletoe Phoradendron flavescens gastrointestinal complications, cardiovascular collapse, difficulty breathing, slow heart rate, behavior changes, vomiting, diarrhea
Oleander Nerium oleander vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, collapse, cardiac failure
Peace Lily Spathiphyllum oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Philodendron Philodendron spp oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Pothos/Devil’s Ivy Epipremnum aureum oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Sago Palm Cycas revoluta, zamia species vomiting, black (tarry) stools, jaundice, increased thirst, bruising, blood clotting problems, liver damage, death
Schefflera Schefflera oral irritation and burning, excessive salivation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing
Tobacco Nicotiana glauca hyperexcitability then depression, vomiting, loss of coordination, paralysis
Tulip Tulipa species vomiting, depression, diarrhea, excessive salivation
Yew/Japanese Yew Taxus sp. sudden death from acute cardiac failure (early signs include muscular tremors, difficulty breathing, seizures

Alternatives to Chemical Pesticides

It is very easy to reach for a chemical pesticide, fertilizer or fungicide when faced with a problem in the lawn or garden. Fortunately for the average home gardener, safer alternatives are available for most commonly encountered problems, reducing the risk of a toxic exposure for your pet. If you notice damaging insects on your plants such as aphids, spider mites or thrips, these insects can be eliminated or reduced by a simple spray of water. These soft-bodied insects are easily dislodged. Adjust the nozzle of your hose so a firm spray will not harm your plants and wash them away. If you have only a few plants, use a good stream of water from your watering can and a little hand washing. It may take a day or two but an infestation can be cleared by no more than a good shower!

Soap and Water

If your insect problem is more serious, add a teaspoon of dish soap to a gallon of water and use it in a garden sprayer. The soap is an irritant to a lot of insects and can help break down the protective barriers of their external skeleton. There are commercial insecticidal soaps available that are less toxic than most chemical alternatives.

And Don’t Forget

Sometimes we forget the simplest things! Put your pets inside when mowing the lawn. A lawn mower can make a projectile out of a stick or rock that can injure your pet. Paint your garden tools a bright color such as red or yellow so you can see them out in the yard. Many pets step or trip on sharp garden implements. Store your chemicals out of reach and in their original containers. Don’t assume your pet will not be interested in consuming these products. If there is a toxic exposure or consumption, call your veterinarian immediately with the information from the product label. Keep your pets inside when applying any chemicals to the lawn or garden. With a little planning you and your pet can enjoy a safe and beautiful garden.

Have a great spring!

* Info Taken from and

Trumpet vine or trumpet creeper – how to identify this poisonous plant and diagnose/treat poisoning.

Trumpet vine or trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans
Trumpet creeper (Bignoniaceae) Family

Description: The large, vigorous, woody Trumpet Vine or Trumpet Creeper may climb to 15 meters (45 feet) high. It has pea-like fruit capsules. The oval leaves are pinnately compound, growing opposite to each other, 8 to 12 sharply toothed leaves per 12 inch leaf stock, with a single terminating leaflet on the end of the stalk. Leaves are dark green on top and lighter underneath and begin with a rounded, wedge shaped base and end with a elongated tip. Its waxy, showy, trumpet-shaped flowers are orange to scarlet in color with yellowish colored throats and cluster at the end of the branches. The flowers are followed by large seed pods which dry and split as the plant matures, to release hundreds of thin, brown, paper-like seeds.

The Trumpet Vine’s growth is very aggressive. Its tendrils grab on to every available surface and become thick, heavy stalks as they mature.

This plant causes minor contact dermatitis and mild toxicity if eaten. Symptoms include itching with effects typically only lasting a few minutes.

Habitat and Distribution: This vine is found in wet woods and thickets throughout eastern and central North America.

Chinese Trumpet Creeper Vines: Learn About Trumpet Creeper Plant Care

Chinese trumpet creeper vines are native to eastern and southeastern China and can be found adorning many buildings, hillsides and roads. Not to be confused with aggressive and often invasive American trumpet vine (Campsis radicans), Chinese trumpet creeper plants are nonetheless prodigious bloomers and growers. Interested in growing Chinese trumpet vines? Read on for more Chinese trumpet creeper info and plant care.

Chinese Trumpet Creeper Plant Info

Chinese trumpet creeper vines (Campus grandiflora) can be grown in USDA zones 6-9. They grow rapidly once established and can attain lengths of 13-30 feet (4-9 m.) in an ideally sunny area. This vigorous woody vine bears blossoms in the early summer in a profusion of 3-inch (7.5 cm.) red/orange blossoms.

The trumpet-shaped flowers are borne off of new growth beginning in early June and the profusion lasts for about a month. Thereafter, the vine will sporadically blossom throughout the summer. Hummingbirds and other pollinators flock to its blooms. When the blossoms die back, they are replaced by long, bean-like seed pods that split open to release the double winged seeds.

It is an excellent vine for full sun exposures growing on trellises, fences, walls, or on arbors. As mentioned, it is not nearly as aggressive as the American version of trumpet creeper vine, Campsis radicans, which spreads invasively through root suckering.

The genus name is derived from the Greek ‘kampe,’ which means bent, referring to the bent stamens of the flowers. Grandiflora stems from the Latin ‘grandis,’ meaning large and ‘floreo,’ meaning to bloom.

Chinese Trumpet Creeper Plant Care

When growing Chinese trumpet creeper, situate the plant in an area of full sun in soil the is fairly rich to average and well-draining. While this vine will grow in partial shade, optimal blooming will be had when it is in full sun.

When established, vines have some drought tolerance. In cooler USDA zones, mulch around the vine prior to the onslaught of winter temperatures since, once temperatures drop below 15 F. (-9 C.), the vine may suffer damage such as stem dieback.

Chinese trumpet vines are tolerant of pruning. Prune in late winter or, since blossoms appear on new growth, the plant can be pruned in the early spring. Cut back plants to within 3-4 buds to encourage compact growth and the formation of flower buds. Also, remove any damaged, diseased or crossing shoots at this time.

This vine has no serious insect or disease issues. It is, however, susceptible to powdery mildew, leaf blight and leaf spot.

‘Close encounters’ of the wrong vine

Throughout the summer months, I will be writing informational articles that will highlight three species of plants found throughout our region which are considered poisonous by contact or if consumed. Hopefully, the information and photos provided along with some catchy rhymes will help you avoid “Close encounters of the wrong kind” and make you summer or any time of year— safe and enjoyable. This article showcases three species of vines that many will be surprised to find out are considered poisonous and might cause a nasty rash, like poison ivy.

Virgin’s-Bower or Old Man’s Beard

Virgin’s-bower (Clematis virginiana) is a native woody vine that inhabits a wide variety of open habitats such as field edges, streamside corridors and shrubby roadsides. The leaves of Virgin’s-bower are irregularly toothed and divided into three parts, which surprisingly, resembles the shape of poison ivy leaves. The difference between these two species is that all three leaflets on Virgin’s-bower are long stemmed, while only the top leaflet of poison ivy exhibits a longer stem. Secondly, Virgin’s-bower produces curly tendrils like grape vines as it climbs amongst vegetation, while poison ivy vine attaches with rusty fibrous hairs or aerial rootlets. Also, the four-petaled flowers of Virgin’s-bower grow in showy bright white clusters, while those of poison ivy are miniscule and greenish-white. Later in the season, those same showy flowers of Virgin’s-bower form into feathery seed heads, which gives reference to its second name- Old Man’s Beard. Unfortunately, the fresh sap of this attractive flowering clematis vine is considered poisonous when exposed to human skin and may cause skin irritation, blistering and ulceration. Fortunately, the “Leaves of three, leave be” saying for poison ivy holds true to Virgin’s bower, and aids as a visual reminder to use caution when removing or cutting vines on your property.

Virgin’s-bower rhyme: “Leaves of three, leave be”

Old’s Man’s Beard rhyme: “Seeds like beards, itchy weird”

Virginia Creeper

Another native vine found throughout the Poconos that might cause concern is called Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia.) Virginia creeper is one of our most widespread climbing vines and offers some of the showiest autumn colors with its deep crimson red foliage. Virginia creeper is an aggressive vine that does not discriminate in finding something to climb onto such as trees, shrubs, telephone poles, buildings and other structures. The non-hairy vine climbs quite easily with the help of adhesive discs and tendrils. The sharply toothed leaves of Virginia creeper are palmate or hand-shaped with typically five leaflets attached to a single stem. Sometimes Virginia creeper loses one or two leaflets and looks exactly like poison ivy. Fortunately, the toxin found in the leaves, stems and sap of Virginia creeper is not quite as problematic as poison ivy but might cause skin irritation to sensitive individuals. Another note of concern is that Virginia creeper produces clusters of blue berries on red stalks in late summer that are relished by songbirds but can be poisonous to humans.

Virginia Creeper rhyme: “Vine palmate, please hesitate.”

Trumpet Creeper

Perhaps one of the showiest of our native flowering vines, especially if you are a hummingbird or hummingbird enthusiast is Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans.) How could it not be with those clusters of bright reddish-orange trumpet-like blossoms nearly three inches long that serve as a hummingbird buffet? Trumpet creeper is a robust climbing woody vine with aerial rootlets similar to poison ivy but not as expressive. Instead of leaves of three, Trumpet creeper produces leaves that are pinnate (leaflets divided on a long stalk) with seven to thirteen leaflets. Throughout the summer months trumpet vine is unmistakable with its long pinnate leaves and large bright red trumpets of flowers. These eye-catching characteristics should heed warning to the casual observer considering that exposure to the leaves and flowers can cause contact dermatitis to the exposed skin of sensitive individuals with painful inflammation and oozing blisters.

Trumpet Creeper rhyme: “Keep in mind, red trumpets on vine”

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