Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

As the name suggests, the blue bell tree surprises with a multitude of impressive, bright blue flowers during its flowering period. This is exactly why the decorative tree can be found again and again in ornamental gardens, but also in public areas. One often hears that particularly impressive plants are usually poisonous or at least unhealthy. But does this also apply to Paulownia Tomentosa? Find out below whether children and pets in particular should stay away from this widespread tree.


Toxic or not? - these dangers emanate from the blue bell tree

There are different statements in the literature on the question of the toxicity of Paulownia Tomentosa. Especially older treatises, as well as works that only deal with the plant species in a very general way, name the bluebell tree as slightly toxic.

Paulownia tomentosa, bluebell tree

Differentiated considerations of this species, also known as Kaiserbaum, differentiate between the individual ones plant components. The leaves of the blue bell tree are now widely classified as harmless and completely non-toxic. Occasionally they are even named as food for pets, so that the harmlessness should in fact be beyond question. The ones that form from the flowers fruits on the other hand, a slight toxicity is still ascribed. The question of edibility is therefore superfluous.

Toxic = dangerous?

Whoever is confronted with the catchphrase of the toxicity of a plant usually recognizes a considerable danger that emanates from the affected plant. However, when it comes to harmfulness, there are all gradations from minor damage to significant impairments or even danger to life. For the blue bell tree this means specifically:

previously accepted assumption

  • all plant components slightly toxic

common attitude today

  • Leaves harmless, sometimes even recommended as animal feed
  • Wood, bark, twigs etc. non-toxic
  • Fruits and the resulting seeds are slightly toxic, containing the plant toxin verbascoside

Danger for children and pets

Low poison and high attractiveness

If only the fruit and seeds of the emperor tree are critical and even these contain only small amounts of poison, why should one deal more closely with the topic of harmfulness with regard to the bluebell tree?

If you take a closer look at the shape of the fruit, it quickly becomes clear that it is often particularly attractive to children and pets. A fruit is about three to four centimeters long, has a greenish color and has an egg-shaped, slightly pointed shape. The later seeds, on the other hand, are brown in color while the shape of the fruit remains very similar.

For the layman, which certainly includes children and pets, Paulownia tomentosa with its fruit and seeds is one of a number of other plants found in the home garden, whose fruits are very edible or at least uncritical. A child will certainly not take a differentiated look at the fruit at hand, but rather will boldly grab it because of the similarity to plums, apples and other cultivated plants. And the seeds, which are vaguely reminiscent of pistachios or acorns, tempt you to include them in the game with chestnuts, acorns and beechnuts.

Fruits/seeds of the bluebell tree

The same goes for pets, of course. Here, too, the products of the blue bell tree are certainly quickly classified as cultivated edible fruits and thus experience an increased level of unwanted attention, which makes their weak toxicity appear critical.

poison contact

What to do if you come into contact with the poisonous parts of the plant?

Owners and mistresses of pets, as well as the parents of children, will now rightly ask what to do if they come into contact with the poisonous components of the bluebell tree, i.e. with the fruits.

skin contact

  • Problem: usually unproblematic with intact fruits, more critical with plant sap that gets on the skin
  • Consequences: Skin irritation possible for people with sensitive skin, but the greatest danger is to transport poison via hands, e.g. into the eyes or mouth
  • Measures: generally no measures are necessary, since the amount of poison in case of skin contact is very low, wash off and apply lotion to skin reddening
  • Prevention: After contact with the fruit, wash hands and/or the area of skin that has been touched with soap and water

eye contact

  • Problem: Poison reaches the eyes and the circulatory system in general via mucous membranes particularly quickly
  • Consequences: Eye irritation through to limitations in vision
  • Measures: Rinse eye with plenty of water after contact, consult an ophthalmologist if necessary
  • Prevention: wash hands after touching and do not touch your eyes, do not willfully destroy / crush fruit to avoid splashing juice in your eyes


  • Problem: Poison enters the blood and internal organs directly via the digestive tract
  • Consequences: Stomach and intestinal problems, possibly diarrhea or vomiting
  • Measures: none, consult a doctor or call the poison control center if you have serious symptoms
  • Prevention: remove fallen fruit and keep it away from pets and children

DANGER: Even if the blue bell tree can only be classified in parts and only as slightly poisonous, the associated problems should not be completely ignored. In children and pets in particular, symptoms can occur more quickly and severely than in adults because of their lower body mass. If you find out that your four-legged friend or even your child has had contact with the fruits of the emperor tree, we recommend at least intensive observation and - if necessary - quick and courageous intervention.

notice: Please note that this article is by no means a substitute for a doctor's visit. There is no guarantee of the correctness of medical statements.
Detailed information on first aid in the event of poisoning and important information on the poison control centers can be found here.

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!