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Everything You Need to Know About Clematis Toxicity to Pets, Animals, and Humans

Few flowering vines are as gorgeous as clematis. These stunning plants can bring color to our gardens throughout the year. However, although they may look beautiful, it’s important to consider whether clematis flowers are poisonous or toxic to humans and pets. 

Are Clematis Poisonous? – The Essentials

All parts of a clematis plant are poisonous to both humans and pets if ingested. Consuming any part of a clematis can lead to stomach discomfort in humans. Pets that have ingested clematis may display symptoms such as vomiting or salivating excessively. Ingesting clematis can also cause diarrhea.


About Clematis

About Clematis

The Clematis genus contains approximately 300 flowering vines that belong to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). Different types of clematis grow across the Northern Hemisphere. Clematis can be found in cool, temperate environments throughout Asia, Europe, and North America.

Clematis are divided into three main groups according to when they flower. Each clematis group must be pruned at a different time of year but still share the same essential care requirements.

  • Group 1 Clematis are early-flowering species that bloom in late winter or spring.
  • Group 2 Clematis typically have large, showy flowers and bloom in spring and summer.
  • Group 3 Clematis are late-flowering varieties that bloom from summer until fall.

Clematis can be further divided between small-flowered varieties and large-flowered varieties. Small-flowered clematis flowers are further subdivided into various types, such as Armandii, evergreen, herbaceous, or Montana.

Clematis flowers represent moral beauty, wisdom, and the joy felt by travelers. These flowers are also associated with cleverness and wit in the language of flowers. Clematis provide a range of benefits, including attracting beneficial pollinators like bees and hoverflies. 


Are Clematis Poisonous Or Toxic to Humans, Pets, and Other Animals?

Are Clematis Poisonous Or Toxic to Humans, Pets, and Other Animals?

All parts of clematis vines are toxic to humans and can cause irritation and discomfort within the stomach if ingested. This may also lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, or vomiting, especially for children. Clematis are not considered to be fatally toxic, and the adverse effects should pass reasonably quickly.

All clematis contain protoanemonin; a toxin or irritant glycoside that is produced whenever clematis leaves or stems are consumed. As this toxin passes through the digestive system, it causes gastrointestinal discomfort or abdominal pain. All members of the buttercup family ( Ranunculaceae) contain protoanemonin.

Clematis shouldn’t cause skin irritation or other problems when touched. Even so, it’s always best to wear gloves when handling clematis, especially during pruning. Always use sharp tools during pruning to prevent messy or untidy cuts.

Blunt tools can leave messy wounds, causing the clematis to release the protoanemonin toxin as a defense mechanism. If the toxin touches bare skin, it can cause skin irritation that may result in a rash.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) lists clematis as poisonous to dogs, cats, and other animals. Again, all parts of the plant are considered to be toxic, including the leaves, stems, and flowers. Pets shouldn’t experience problems from brushing against clematis, but it’s best to keep the vines out of reach wherever possible.

Do Clematis Cause or Exacerbate Allergies?

Do Clematis Cause or Exacerbate Allergies?

In addition to being poisonous, clematis flowers may exacerbate respiratory or seasonal allergies like asthma or hay fever. Clematis flowers produce nectar and pollen to attract insects, which can trigger reactions in people who suffer from hay fever. Clematis can bloom any time, from late winter until fall, which may cause problems throughout the year.

What Happens to Pets If They Ingest Part of a Clematis?

What Happens to Pets If They Ingest Part of a Clematis?

If your pet ingests part of a clematis, it will experience some gastrointestinal discomfort. A pet that has eaten part of a clematis may start salivating excessively. Further symptoms include irritation or reddening around the mouth, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Although these symptoms are distressing, clematis should not cause any long-term health problems for your pet. Once the animal has stopped consuming the clematis, the adverse effects should subside fairly quickly. If symptoms do not pass within a couple of hours, seek veterinary help.

What to Do If Your Pet Becomes Unwell

What to Do If Your Pet Becomes Unwell

If your pet has ingested some clematis, the symptoms and adverse effects should pass shortly. However, if your pet continues to experience discomfort, monitor them closely. Make sure that your pet drinks lots of water to prevent dehydration.

If diarrhea and vomiting continue for several hours, contact your local veterinarian. Listen to their advice closely and follow the directions you’re given. If your vet advises that you bring your pet in for inspection, make an appointment immediately.

Prevention is always the best cure, so try and keep your clematis out of reach of curious pets wherever possible.

Tips and Considerations When Handling Clematis

Tips and Considerations When Handling Clematis

Although simply touching or brushing against a clematis doesn’t result in an adverse reaction, it’s still best to protect yourself. Always wear gloves whenever you handle clematis, especially during pruning. It’s also a good idea to wear long-sleeved clothes if you can.

Use sharp tools such as secateurs whenever you prune a clematis. This enables you to make clean, sharp cuts. Blunt cutting tools can injure the plant, which triggers the production of the protoanemonin toxin. The toxin then oozes out of the cut, potentially causing mild skin irritation and leaving behind an uncomfortable rash.

Even if you wore gloves when handling clematis vines, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward. This ensures that none of the protoanemonin toxins touches your bare skin. Never touch your face or eyes until you’ve thoroughly washed your hands after touching a clematis.


Clematis Toxicity – Wrapping Up

Clematis might be beautiful, but they should always be handled with care. All parts of clematis plants are poisonous to humans and animals such as cats and dogs. Ingesting clematis causes gastrointestinal discomfort, abdominal pain, and even vomiting or diarrhea. In most cases, these effects should pass reasonably quickly. However, excessive consumption of clematis can lead to severe health problems for pets or humans.


Edward Hodsdon
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Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.

Author

Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.

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