Is wisteria poisonous?


With a passion for growing installed at an early age, I have always been happiest outdoors in nature. After training as a professional gardener and horticultural therapist, I currently run horticultural therapy and community kitchen gardens in the UK, helping others access the many physical and mental health benefits of growing vegetables, fruit and plants.

Favourite fruit: apples and pears
Favourite vegetable: asparagus

Despite being incredibly beautiful, wisteria can also be harmful. Read on to discover more about wisteria toxicity and its effects.

Hanging flowers of purple wisteria
Wisteria flowers are not only stunning but can be sweetly scented as well [Photo: Wut_Moppie/]

Originally from parts of Asia and the United States, wisteria (Wisteria) is now cultivated and prized all around the globe. It is grown for its stunning pendant blooms, and there are several different wisteria species and varieties to choose from, with flower colours ranging from purple to white and even pink. However, wisterias are also toxic and can be poisonous to both animals and humans.

Is wisteria poisonous to humans?

If you are wondering if wisteria is poisonous to humans, the answer is most definitely yes. Furthermore, it is not just certain parts that are harmful, as all of the wisteria plant is considered poisonous due to the toxic lectins and wisterin it contains. However, it is the wisteria seeds and pods that are deemed most harmful when ingested. If consumed, urgent medical attention should be sought. Wisteria poisoning symptoms can include an oral burning sensation, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea.

Due to wisteria’s toxicity and potentially harmful effects, it is advisable to wear long sleeves and gloves when handling or pruning wisteria.

Wisteria seed pods on vine
All parts of wisteria can be harmful, but the seeds and pods are considered especially toxic [Photo: DM.G/]

Is wisteria poisonous to dogs, cats and other pets?

Just as it is for humans, the lectin and wisterin present in wisteria is likewise poisonous for dogs, cats and other animals. If ingested, wisteria poisoning in small animals can cause stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting with signs of blood and can even be fatal. If you suspect your pet is suffering from wisteria poisoning, seek a vet’s advice immediately. Medical treatment for your pet may include inducing vomiting and fluid therapy to help flush the toxins out of the body and is most effective when given as soon as possible after ingestion.

Where dogs, cats and other pets are present, it may be wise to avoid planting wisteria to reduce the likelihood of accidental consumption.

Pendant flowers and foliage of wisteria
Despite being a much sought-after climber, wisteria is toxic to cats and dogs [Photo: nnattalli/]

As vigorous climbing plants, wisterias need support. You can learn more about training wisteria here in our separate article.