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michael 58



A couple of months ago i was mooching in one of our local stores when i came across a buy 1 get 1 free Clematis deal. I was instantly attracted to the thought of getting a couple. It really did look an attractive plant in full bloom and im a sucker for a decent buy 1 get 1 free deal.

Having my mobile phone to hand, i thought to take a quick readup on it there and then.

Well i was shocked to find that this quite lovely plant had a "poisonous to cats and dogs" tag on it with quite disturbing symptoms.

I certainly didnt want my kitty being stricken with fits of vomiting or diarrhea or anyone elses for that matter, so decided against buying it.

Poisonous? Really? Im pretty sure the Clematis isnt the only garden plant labelled with such a tag (im new to this)

Are there precautionary planting measures one takes when considering such? Does anyone have accounts of pooch and pussy poisonings? Was i over cautious?



I think that cats and dogs (most animals really) are quite bright - if clematis presented a real danger to them cats would probably be extinct by now.

Very very occasionally a cat will do something totally daft and eat something it shouldn't - far more likely that a dog will do it, labradors see almost anything as a culinary challenge - and if the animal is then taken ill it's helpful to the vet to know what might have contributed to it, but I don't know of any cat keeping gardeners who avoid clematis.

Lilies do present a problem because if a cat gets the pollen on it's coat and then licks it off it can make it ill so my daughter does not grow lilies in her garden. 


Over the years I've known lots of cats in gardens full of all sorts of plants and no cat ever got ill. I think they still have some sort of instinct/common sense that we've lost.

Not so sure about dogs

michael 58

Good point. Mind you my cat is a little on the loopy side. Hmm is there a "poisonous to slugs' alternative? 

I guess i just homed in on the word `poisonous` and never took the thought further. Might have a rethink next year.


In my (long) experience loopy cats are the ones with brains - it's the dullards that have no intuition - they're like people in that way 



What a cutie Michael! That puddy cat looks very comfy! I have a kitty and a clematis and have not had any problems. Would suggest planting it away from any long grass that your cat might consume for digestion in case said cat takes a mouthful in error. 


Michael, if you are going to look up every plant you might buy to check for adverse problems you will cut out very, very many plants.

I do think you are being too cautious.

michael 58

Everday will be a learning curve for me. Its taken the best part of my life in gaining an interest in actually planting stuff rather than just mowing the lawn every now and then. My skills and knowledge are zero  This is where you guys come in 

I fear there`ll be even sillier questions in the pipeline as i go along. Welcome me to your bosoms and be patient with me lol.

Awe Tootles, he is cute isnt he? Alas its just a random Google kitty feeling unwell. Not sure where mine was at the time.


We're very patient Michael - gardeners have to be - some things take a long time to grow 


michael 58, welcome and ask as many silly questions as you like

I have an Aconitum which I did not realise is toxic and I hear that Datura is pretty bad too. Every Primary School used to have a Laburnam (?) with yellow flowers in the playground; also toxic I think!

michael 58

Wow the more i read about it the more the list gets longer.  Think Welshonion may have been quite correct.

artjak wrote (see)

.... Every Primary School used to have a Laburnam (?) with yellow flowers in the playground; also toxic I think!

Don't tell Michael Gove - that'd keep his Education Budget down 

I'll get my coat ...................................... 

michael 58

Strange? We used to get the strap at school as punishment  Pray tell, whats the Laburnam and schools link? artjak mentioned it too.


The link between Laburnum and schools is that many schools had one in the playground; it is a good urban tree, though you have many, many trees of it in farm hedgerows too. Apparently when fence posts were not available in the War, laburnum branches were used instead (can this be true?) and they took root.

I digress.  Laburnam seeds in tempting (at least to primary-school children) pods are very toxic.  Yet I have never heard of children being poisoned. Training children never to eat anything in the garden unless they check with an adult first is the way to go.

That never stopped us pinching peas, strawberries and raspberries from the garden though!

michael 58

Ah the pinching peas strawberries and raspberry days. I remember them well.

It seems as the labernum has a well deserved place in our history then. Must say im impressed with everyones knowledge so far.

The message is quite clear though. I`ll be planting a clematis at the next opportunity (and whatever else takes my fancy) I spit in the eye of danger 

I wonder if the buy 1 get 1 free deal is still on? 


michael 58

Greetings Mike and thank you. You certainly are a most welcoming bunch.

Hmm i fear you have already been beaten to it. There seems to be quite a few poisonous plant lists out there already  But well why not? Just one more wouldnt go amiss. You may even find one that nobodys even thought of 




And Mike's list might just be more interesting and readable than some others .... 

michael 58

Anybody watching The Magic of Mushrooms on BBC4? Fascinating stuff and some of those mushrooms make even the most poisonous of plants seem like boiled sweeties. 

Keyser Soze

I've just come across this book which seems quite apt!

Having been to the poison garden at Alnwick a few times myself it looks like it may be a good read.

Victoria Sponge

I agree Keyser, I've not read the book but I've looked through his website before and like the no nonsense and no hysterics approach he has to poisonous plants