Morning glory flowers are found in many home gardens and are also commonly placed indoors as houseplants. While these blooms produce striking colours, the seeds have toxic principles that can cause adverse effects if ingested by animals or humans. If your home has children and animals, you may wish to choose a safer flower for your garden or inside your home.
The morning glory is a herbaceous perennial and a member of the Convolvulaceae family. Morning glory is also known as 'Pearly Gates' morning glory and 'Heavenly Blue' morning glory. Native to tropical America, the morning glory is often placed indoors or outdoors in flower beds and gardens. Morning glorys have heart-shaped, glossy green leaves and produce flowers in blue, purple or white.
Morning glory seeds have toxic principles that can cause adverse effects if consumed by humans. Substances known as indole alkaloids are present in the seeds, such as lysergic acid, elymoclavine, lysergamide and chanoclavine. Those who consume morning glory seeds often experience gastrointestinal ailments such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Other symptoms associated with eating morning glory seeds include hallucinations, rigidity of muscles, numbness of arms and legs and fatigue. According to North Carolina State University, morning glory seeds produce symptoms of low toxicity when eaten. However, it is inadvisable to consume plant material, as many people experience severe allergic reactions after ingestion. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include wheezing, swelling of the face, swelling of the lips, hives, swelling of the tongue and difficulty breathing.
Animals can also experience plant poisoning symptoms after ingesting morning glory seeds. The compounds found in morning glory seeds are toxic to dogs and cats. Animals that consume morning glory seeds may develop symptoms such as anorexia, tremors, ataxia, stomach upset, vomiting, severe agitation, diarrhoea and hallucinations.
Plant poisoning symptoms can be severe, so if anyone in your household ingests morning glory seeds seek immediate medical attention. It is important to seek medical care, even if no symptoms are present. Puppies and children are also at an increased risk of choking on plant material. When choosing plants for your home, pick plants that are non-toxic to humans and animals to avoid accidental poisoning.