Hildegard von Bingen already recognized the healing powers of columbine. Today, the robust perennial is popular as a bee pasture and cut flower. Is the columbine with the unusually shaped flowers poisonous?

Toxic components

The common columbine ( Aquilegia vulgaris ) belongs to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). The herbaceous plant reaches a height of about 45 centimeters. Numerous varieties of columbine are known today.

Incidentally, the columbine is also popularly known as the devil’s bell, fool’s cap or gypsy flower.

The Aquilegia contains in all plant parts

  • Magnoflorin
  • Nitril Glycoside

Both substances are toxic to humans, cats, dogs, and other pets. The toxins are also contained in the seed.

The leaves and flowers of the garden flower taste very bitter. If children accidentally put them in their mouths, they quickly spit them out. This reduces the risk of poisoning.

By the way, toxicity and medicinal properties are very close to each other in many plants. Many naturopathic preparations contain components of the Aquilegia species. The dosage should be left exclusively to physicians and naturopaths.

Symptoms of poisoning in humans

Poisoning from the consumption of parts of the columbine plant can cause symptoms in humans, such as

  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • shortness of breath
  • tachycardia
  • cramps

Sensitive people can react with skin irritation, redness and blistering when they come into contact with parts of the plant.

Basically, the types of columbine are only classified as slightly poisonous. If there are children or sick people living in your household, you should avoid the decorative flower in the garden.

First aid tips

  • Call doctor or emergency services
  • never use force to induce vomiting
  • give water to drink
  • store safely in case of dizziness to avoid injuries
Note: In the poison control centers, experts provide answers to your questions and provide first aid advice for symptoms of poisoning. The information is free of charge in Germany.

Danger for pets?

Columbine plants are suspected of endangering pets.


Cats are carnivores. Nevertheless, they often nibble on blades of grass and other plants in order to get rid of swallowed hair and undigested food residues by vomiting. Free-ranging animals have a large selection of plants at their disposal. Only very rarely do they eat poisonous varieties. Evidence of poisoning in the velvet paws by eating plant parts of the Aquilegia is not known. Nevertheless, caution is advised.

Indoor tigers are more at risk from indoor plants and cut flowers. Make sure you always have enough cat grass available for indoor cats.


Dogs also nibble on plants. A danger for the four-legged friends by eating parts of the garden columbine has not yet been proven. Sensitivity reactions such as heavy salivation or stomach upset cannot be ruled out.


When horses are in the pasture, they are constantly eating green plants. Aquilegia species are common in the wild. Breeders warn against contact. If you notice symptoms of poisoning in your horse such as shortness of breath, diarrhea, drowsiness or behavioral problems, contact the veterinarian immediately. Pay attention to the plant composition on the pastures.


Eating Aquilegia species is dangerous for rabbits. Rabbit clubs warn against giving feed mixtures containing columbine. However, free-roaming rabbits usually instinctively disdain the plant.

Guinea pig

Free-ranging guinea pigs also avoid columbine plants. Always pay attention to the composition of the feed. Signs of poisoning in guinea pigs through ingestion of the plant parts are not known.

First aid tips

  • Consult a veterinarian or veterinary clinic if there are signs of poisoning
  • Take any suspect plant parts and vomit with you to the doctor in a sealed container
  • Keep Calm!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *