Is forsythia poisonous?


Having studied organic farming, I enjoy trying out new cultivation methods and other gardening experiments with friends in our community garden. I care deeply about exploring sustainable and mindful approaches to working with nature. This is my biggest passion, but I am also a real ornamental plant enthusiast!

Favourite fruit: strawberry, mango, guava
Favourite vegetables: artichoke, tomato, rocket

The yellow flowers of forsythia are very beautiful, but also poisonous. We explain what this means for dogs, cats and humans.

Yellow blossoms of the border forsythia
The border forsythia shines with bright yellow blossoms [Photo: LEE EUI SUN/]

In spring, the forsythia (Forsythia × intermedia) delights us with its yellow flowers, beautifying gardens even before most other plants bloom. However, many do not know that the popular shrub is slightly poisonous. We show how toxic the forsythia really is and what to watch out for.

Forsythia: poisonous plant parts

Forsythia contains several toxic substances such as saponins, glycosides as well as essential oils. These mildly toxic substances are found in all parts of the plant, that is, in the branches, leaves and flowers. But there is no need to panic: Forsythia is only slightly poisonous and only becomes dangerous if the plant is consumed in large quantities. Nevertheless, when cutting the bush, you should always wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly in case of contact with the skin.

Light yellow flowers of the border forsythia
All parts of the border forsythia are slightly poisonous [Photo: katatonia82/]

Symptoms of poisoning

If plant parts were nevertheless swallowed, symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhoea may occur. As a rule, however, a small dose is not enough for this and you usually do not need to worry.

What to do in case of poisoning symptoms?

If only small amounts of the plant are ingested, it is generally not necessary to go to the doctor. If, on the other hand, younger children should have eaten parts of the plant, it is still advisable to contact a paediatrician immediately. In addition, an effective method for rapid improvement is generally to consume plenty of fluids in the form of water and teas.

Yellow mug with border forsythia flower
Forsythia is slightly poisonous, ingesting small amounts accidentally is harmless [Photo: Viktoriia Kolosova/]

Forsythia: dangerous for dogs and cats?

Many dog owners wonder if their pets can also get poisoned by forsythia. In general, there is a risk of mild poisoning from consumption – this is especially true for young dogs. However, the animals would have to consume a larger amount of plant parts, just like humans, to become seriously ill. In the worst case, dogs may suffer from diarrhoea. The same goes for cats, where you usually have even less to worry about. If you still observe symptoms of poisoning, you should contact a veterinarian.

If you are still keen to plant a forsythia in your garden, here is all the information you need on forsythia – location, care, propagation and more.