Are Ninebark Poisonous

Ninebark is a popular choice of gardeners as a landscape plant. Clusters of white or pink flowers bloom in late spring followed by red fruit in late summer and fall. Many wonder if this shrub is toxic to humans and animals. Unfortunately, there is not a clear answer to this question. Historically, this plant was used as a purgative, emetic, and laxative by indigenous people. Due to this information, some consider all parts of Ninebark toxic if it is ingested.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) is not listed as a toxic plant. In addition, ASPCA does not list this plant as either toxic or non toxic. However, to be on the safe side, it is best to err on the side of caution and treat the shrub as if it were toxic.


Are Ninebark Poisonous to Children

Small children may be tempted to pluck the flowers or colorful berries off of a NInebark shrub. Despite not being listed as a toxic plant, none of this plant material should be ingested by small children.

Are Ninebark Poisonous to Dogs

Ninebark shrubs are not listed with the ASPCA as either a toxic or non-toxic plant. The bark of this plant reportedly can induce vomiting or diarrhea in dogs. If your canine friend has nibbled on the shrub, keep an eye out for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or not eating. Contact your local veterinarian if you are concerned.

Are Ninebark Poisonous to Cats

The same concern for dogs is there for cats. Because the bark can reportedly induce vomiting or diarrhea in animals. If your cat has nibbled on the shrub, keep an eye out for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or not eating.

Are Ninebark Poisonous to Other Animals

Wildlife animals such as deer and rabbits tend to shy away from Ninebark shrubs. It is good to remember that ingestion of any plant material may cause vomiting and gastrointestinal upset for other animals like horses and other livestock or pets. These symptoms are typically not life threatening to animals. If you think your animal may have ingested poisonous plant material, contact your local veterinarian or the APCC 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

Symptoms of Ninebark Poisoning

Always check with your doctor or veterinarian for guidance if you suspect Ninebark or any plant poisoning. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Stomach upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling

Pet Poison Helpline

If something were to happen to your animal friend, and you suspect that they are suffering from Ninebark or other plant poisoning, there is a poison control hotline to call for 24/7 vet advice. It is called, Pet Poison Hotline, and their phone number is (855) 764-7661.

Click here for a complete list of Pet Safe Plants.


"Poisonous Plants By Toxic Syndrome." U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List." American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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Author Chris Link - Published 09-30-2021