This climber provides abundant green foliage and blue flowers. Ideal for decoratively covering entire walls. But the wisteria also produces three substances that are equally toxic to humans and animals. If it grows within your reach, you should know all about its toxicity. Dealing with the lurking danger correctly is life-saving in the truest sense of the word.

The three poisons in the wisteria

As if one toxin alone is not enough, the wisteria plant produces three different ones. Each of them has sufficient power to seriously harm a person, up to and including fatality. Small children in particular are vulnerable to the effects. The three toxins are named as follows:

  • Alkaloid
  • Lektin
  • Wistarin

While the alkaloids can be found in all parts of the plant, the other two substances cavort in certain parts of the wisteria or wisteria, as its scientific name is. Read more about the effects and occurrence of the individual toxins below.

Alkaloids are dormant in all parts of the plant

Alkaloids are organic compounds that occur naturally in more than 10,000 different variants. All are poisonous without exception, but not all equally strong. What they all have in common, however, is the bitter taste, which fortunately does not make the parts of the plant that house it appetizing. However, skin contact is another way of coming into contact with this toxin.

Symptoms of poisoning
The alkaloid contained in wisteria is classified as rather harmless, but remains toxic. Skin contact with this poison can cause various symptoms of poisoning in sensitive people.

  • painful irritations on the skin
  • z. B. Dermatitis

Pods and seeds contain lectin

When raw, most legumes contain lectin. A higher concentration of it triggers health problems in humans. That is why legumes are always eaten cooked. The form of lectin found in wisteria is called ricin. Cutting away faded flowers early reduces the risk of ingesting this toxin.

  • occurs in high doses
  • just a few grams are deadly
  • in adults, as little as three seeds trigger symptoms of poisoning
  • two seeds are enough for children
Tip:  The ripe legumes of the miracle tree, as wisteria is also known, burst open with a loud bang and eject their seeds. This spectacle fascinates children greatly and lures them close to these poisonous little grains.


Symptoms of poisoning
If large amounts of seeds and pods are consumed, this can lead to circulatory collapse and subsequent cardiac arrest. It is therefore important to recognize poisoning in good time based on the symptoms and to act quickly and correctly.

  • dilated eye pupils
  • pale facial skin
  • strong headache
  • stomach cramps and diarrhea
  • Nausea followed by vomiting

Wistarin is found in bark and roots

The substance Wistarin is also toxic and is only found in wisteria. Hidden in the bark and roots of wisteria, it is absorbed through ingestion and skin contact. Although scientists disagree on the extent of its toxicity, the consequences of its ingestion are by no means harmless.

Symptoms of poisoning
It is not yet clear what amount of poison leads to symptoms of poisoning. However, if the still unknown limit is exceeded, the following consequences occur:

  • Damage to the central nervous system
  • Vomit
  • acute respiratory paralysis

Wistarin has a bitter taste, which is why the temptation to consume it can be rated as low. On the other hand, physical contact is more than likely if the owner is cutting wisteria. Gloves not only protect against cuts, they can actually save lives.

First aid measures

Poisoning by this climbing plant is not harmless, immediate action is required! Call 911 as soon as you notice signs of poisoning. Until the emergency doctor arrives, you can take care of the following first aid measures yourself:

  • Give the person concerned tea or water
  • must be drunk in small sips
  • if the skin comes into contact with the poison, wash it under running water
  • if unconscious: check breathing
  • initiate resuscitation measures if necessary
  • if the person is breathing independently, bring the person into the stable lateral position

Please note the following:

  • give no milk
  • do not induce vomiting
  • Give medicinal charcoal only on doctor’s orders

Despite the danger of poisoning, try to remain calm as much as possible. Panic behavior only worsens the symptoms. Keep the person warm with a blanket and stay close until the doctor gets there. It is also important to maintain eye contact with the affected person.

Wisteria – a danger for dogs and cats?

Yes, the three substances in wisteria described above are also toxic for cats and dogs. Due to their smaller body size, even the smallest amounts are sufficient to cause life-threatening symptoms of poisoning.
Guinea pigs, rabbits, birds and many other pets are also affected. Blue rain is poisonous even for large horses in large quantities. The plant is therefore never suitable as green fodder for animals.

Symptoms of poisoning in animals
Our animal friends notice the poisons of wisteria with the following symptoms:

  • vomiting and diarrhea
  • circulatory collapse
  • cardiac arrest

Act immediately to give the animal a chance to survive. It cannot help itself, nor do the symptoms simply go away over time.

First aid measures for animals

The animal must be taken to the vet immediately. If the symptoms of poisoning occur outside of office hours, the poison control center can give you initial support or recommend further action. Before you take your pet to the vet, there are a few things you should do yourself:

  • Remove plant debris from the mouth
  • Put leftovers in a bag and take with you to the doctor
  • Push the tongue aside to open the airway

Do not attempt to induce vomiting, and caution should also be exercised when administering liquids without express professional advice.

Climbing alternatives for wisteria

Because Wisteria poses so many dangers, it is easy to give up its beauty. The renunciation is not that big, because there are enough alternative and, above all, non-toxic climbing plants that have their own charm.

Climbing roses
The queen of plants is also available in a climbing version, and in countless colors and flower shapes. Not to forget: the included fragrance. A climbing rose grows slowly, but depending on the variety it can reach heights of up to 15 m. Since a house facade is designed to last, the two go well together.

With their eagerness to climb, they can easily compete with the Wisteria. Grapevines manage a whopping three meters per year. They are completely non-toxic. In autumn, many varieties even reward us with their sweet fruits. Ideal for a family home with a small sweet tooth.

Climbing Hydrangeas
They are even easier to grow than Wisteria. With their own adhesive organs, they climb up every wall. In the summertime they decorate them with magical flowers. A thoroughly non-toxic alternative to the dangerous wisteria.

Please not these climbing artists!

Not every climbing plant is an alternative to wisteria. Clematis, Virginia creeper, honeysuckle and many other climbers bring their own no less dangerous toxins with them. If any climbing plant impresses you when planning your facade greening, you should definitely check it for toxicity. The motto can only be: It is better to prevent in good time than act too late!

Wisteria forms three strong toxins and is therefore a real danger to life, especially for curious children and small pets. Only knowledge of the toxicity enables responsible use of it. Starting with a conscious renunciation of this climbing plant to information about rules of conduct, symptoms of poisoning and first aid measures.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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