The moon vine (Ipomoea alba), which is also referred to as moonflower vine and evening glory, is prized by home gardeners for its breathtaking, fragrant flowers. This vine thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Although it makes a beautiful addition to your landscape, like other morning glory species, moon vine is toxic.
Identifying Moon Vine
The moon vine is a vigorously growing twining vine that is perennial in tropical climates but can be grown as an annual in colder climates. It is a relative of the morning glory and has similar heart-shaped, green leaves that are 4 to 8 inches long. The buds of the moon vine open in late afternoon and by the following morning, they shrivel and die. Moon vine makes up for the short life of its blooms by producing large quantities throughout the summer. Each fluted, white, funnel-shaped flower is held on a stem bearing several buds, but not all of these open at the same time. Flowers are 5 to 6 inches across, and the large white seeds resemble dried garbanzo beans.
Moon vine is part of the morning glory (Convolvulaceae) plant family. Plants in this family are listed by the ASPCA as toxic to dogs. All parts of moon vine and other morning glory species contain alkaloids such as chanoclavine, lysergic acid and lysergamide. The seeds can be particularly dangerous because they remain viable in soil for long periods and contain several types of alkaloids that are neurotoxins to humans and animals if ingested.
Signs of Trouble
Ingestion of moon vine parts by your dog can cause several symptoms. The severity of these symptoms will vary depending on the dog and how much of the plant is ingested. But signs of poisoning by this plant typically include stomach upset, agitation, tremors, disorientation, hallucinations, loss of appetite, diarrhea and loss of coordination.
What to Do
If you suspect your dog has eaten moon vine or any other poisonous plant but is not showing symptoms, contact your veterinarian, or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. The ASPCA and your vet can help you determine how to proceed. If your dog is having seizures, losing consciousness or appears to have trouble breathing, take it immediately to your vet or to an emergency veterinary clinic.