Help! Clematis in the compost heap

Lunenburg, MA(Zone 5b)

hi - I had a clematis I inherited that had just about pooped out, so last fall I cut the branches and tossed them on my compost pile. Now I read that all parts of the clematis are poisonous! Does that mean my compost pile is contaminated? Do the poisons break down over time? I've already used some of the compost from that heap in my veggie garden. Are my veggies potentially lethal?


Virginia Beach, VA

I am no expert on poison but I had composted trimmings from clematises which i have tons of. some one are more knowledgeable.


Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I didn't know clematis was poisonous! I'll have to dig out the one I have growing over my mail box.

Thanks for the heads-up!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I've heard that about clematis, only I will leave mine where they are as I don't plan on eating of them.And I doubt that many others ever thought the same about eating their clematis.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I would not worry.
Dilution plus breakdown in nature and soil chemistry.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

Quote from sallyg :
I would not worry.
Dilution plus breakdown in nature and soil chemistry.

Exactly, through decay the poison if they exist will just seep into the soil. No need to fret and I wouldn't worry about poisoning your veggies.

Saint Paul, MN(Zone 4a)

This is from Wikipedia.

"Use and toxicity

The European species did not enter into the herbalists' pharmacopeia[7] In the American Old West the Western white clematis, Clematis ligusticifolia, was called pepper vine by early travelers and pioneers of the American Old West, who took a tip from Spanish colonials and used seeds and the acrid leaves of yerba de chivato as a pepper substitute.[8] The entire genus contains essential oils and compounds which are extremely irritating to the skin and mucous membranes. Unlike black pepper or Capsicum, however, the compounds in clematis cause internal bleeding of the digestive tract if ingested in large amounts. C. ligusticifolia is essentially toxic. When pruning them, it's a good idea to wear gloves. Despite its toxicity, Native Americans used very small amounts of clematis as an effective treatment for migraine headaches and nervous disorders. It was also used as an effective treatment of skin infections.[9] Clematis is also a constituent of Bach's Rescue Remedy."

Hope it helps. It seems to me it's the same as with any medicin/poison. It's all in the dosage.

Lunenburg, MA(Zone 5b)

Thanks to all for your messages. I also emailed a clematis nursery, and they said that the "poison" is that clematis can be a skin irritant, and that it will break-down in a hot compost pile.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

honeybee, just tell the mailman not to eat the Clematis. i hate to see you yank out a beautiful plant and they cover mailboxes across the country.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Some postmen don't like that flowers on the mailbox can attract bees. But it is a very pretty effect.

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