Toxicity of the Moonflower Vine (Ipomoea Alba)

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closeup of flowerThe moonflower vine (which will be considered Ipomoea alba throughout this post) is a beautiful plant; a bit mysterious, too. I have read numerous internet accounts of this vine. The most consistent fact in these accounts is the inconsistency in their 'facts'. Even the origin of the moonflower vine is in question. Though it has been introduced to many temperate regions of the world, such as India, where it is highly prized; we can assume by the nature of the plant, its origin is tropical, most likely, the New World tropics.


Note: Earlier, the moonflower vine was classified as Calonyction aculeatum, and is still sold by some seedsmen under this name. However, according to Wikipedia, it has been "properly reassigned" to the genus Ipomoea Quamoclit. Oddly enough, Wikipedia also lists the cardinal vine, aka, the cypress vine, as Ipomoea quamoclit. Until the taxonomists come to terms with the name of the moonflower vine, I will refer to it as, the widely accepted and probably more correct, Ipomoea alba.

Having read so many articles on this vine, I can only assume most are simply copied versions of articles found elsewhere on the net. Incorrect information is re written as fact and passed along, yet again. For example, most of these numerous articles cite the moonflower vine as being toxic or poisonous.

For the sake of brevity, I will not list the four web pages I found citing the moonflower vine as edible, and extractions from same used internally to treat certain disorders. I will, in the interest of those who would like to grow this vine, but hesitate due to fear of safety in doing so, present two facts attesting to the innocuous nature of this plant.

Some of you will remember my little friend, Robbie, the orphaned rabbit. In a post I made earlier, I said Robbie was an 'anyvore', because he would eat anything. Indeed, I mentioned he had been eating the leaves of my moonflower vine. At least two months later, he was still alive and appeared quite healthy.

When the vines began to bloom, I remembered witnessing Robbie eating the leaves. Being confident there was no harm, I selected the largest bloom. I ate the whole bloom. I suffered absolutely no ill effects. Two months later, I am alive and quite well for my age.

What with the four accounts from reputable sources, citing the edibility of this vine, even the young seed, and with my own personal ingestion of it's flower, and with Robbie relishing it's leaves, I think no matter how many articles you read citing it's toxicity, you can grow this beautiful vine without fear or worry. Just be sure you are growing moonflower vine, Ipomoea alba, and not some of the other plants commonly termed 'moonflower', which indeed, are poisonous.

As to the misinformation contained in most articles on this plant, the words of an old friend come to mind: 'Doug, don't you know a piece of paper will lay there and let you write anything on it?'.


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September 26, 20150 found this helpful

J L Hudson, one of the most reputable, long time seedsmen in the U.S., lists Moonflower Vine in his catalog. It is shown under the heading Calonyction aculeatum. In his descriptive notes of the plant, he states: In Panama, the leaves and calyces are eaten as a vegetable, as are the young seeds.

Green Deane, author, states: the young leaves and fleshy calyces are edible when cooked. They can be boiled or steamed. They can also be dried for later use. Seeds edible when young.


Paul Carpenter Standley, author ... Trees and Shrubs of Mexico, states; The vine is commonly cultivated under the name of 'Moonflower'. The large, very showy flowers open late in the evening. In India the young seeds are eaten.

In India, the plant is considered to have medicinal properties.
CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants:

Used in Sidha. Whole plant purgative, antibacterial, emetic, used in treating snakebite. Dermatitis. Flowers infusion taken as a blood purifier.

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September 21, 20170 found this helpful

Ip (rhymes with hip)


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September 22, 20170 found this helpful

Here in the states there are two species of Moon Flower. One is considered poisonous the other not. I woud not try eating either

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September 24, 20170 found this helpful

Hello !
Rabbits and many other animals are not a reference as far as toxic food is concerned!
In my country, we are great fans of mushrooms. We go and collect them in the fields or the forests and one of the first rules we learn is to do not consider a mushroom as non-venenous because it has marks of the teeth of an animal.


Rabbits can eat one of the world most dangerous mushroom: the phalloïd amanita. Your kidneys, your stomach, and your liver do not react to the same toxins as rabbit's or many others animal's digestive system.

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September 16, 20180 found this helpful

Bravo! I've grown Datura inoxia....never, ever called it Moonflower. Thanks

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November 7, 20190 found this helpful

This has been confused with something else from Datura family it seems. Datura is toxic. There is a common name moonflower for that as well.

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August 7, 20220 found this helpful

Who knew, I am allergic to moon flowers, mine cause a rash worse than posion ivy,....never growing again!

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