Is Honeysuckle Poisonous to People?

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Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) gets its name because edible nectar can be sucked from the flowers. But the berries are poisonous to people, and should never be eaten. Toxicity levels are not generally high, but you should take care when planting honeysuckle where children or adults might eat the berries. The flowers, leaves and stems should not cause a reaction.

Toxic Honeysuckles

Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 8, is considered toxic if large quantities of the berries are eaten. Other poisonous honeysuckles include:

Some honeysuckles may be less dangerous than others, but to be safe, avoid eating any honeysuckle berries.

Poisoning Symptoms

If a person eats too many honeysuckle berries it typically results in upset stomach. Vomiting and diarrhea are other symptoms. Pupil dilation, cold sweat and rapid heartbeat can also occur if the person who eats honeysuckle berries is allergic or consumes large quantities.

Warning

  • In severe cases, eating honeysuckle can result in respiratory failure, convulsions and lead to coma.

Responding To Poisoning

If someone eats honeysuckle berries, remove any plant parts from the mouth and contact your local poison control center as soon as possible.

The national toll-free number is: 1-800-222-1222. Tell the poison control center that you're concerned about honeysuckle poisoning, then follow their instructions.

Before calling poison control or while you're on the phone, you can rinse the person's mouth out and give them a few sips of water. If the person who ate the berries is having trouble breathing or has collapsed, call 911 immediately.

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