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What About Plants In & Around My House?


Plants can be classified according to their degree of toxicity. The numbered paragraphs below describe various degrees. Below these paragraphs, there is a chart which lists a number of common plants. The numbers in parentheses next to each plant corresponds the the paragraph number. As you will note, some plants fall into more than one category.

1. Mild toxicity. If ingested in small amounts, these plants will probably not cause any toxic symptoms. Symptoms are usually limited to mild throat irritation, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

2. Irritants. These plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, which may cause an intense stinging or burning sensation if ingested or upon skin contact. These symptoms usually will resolve with time. Treatment consists of giving fluids to drink if ingested or thorough washing with skin contact. Large ingestions can result in swelling of the throat and mouth which can potentially result in problems breathing.

3. Dermatitis. Handling these plants (especially in sensitive individuals) can cause skin irritation and rash. The juice and sap of these plants are very irritating and can cause pain if allowed to penetrate cuts or wounds.

4. Major Toxicity. Ingestion of these plants can result in severe toxic reactions and injury to major organs like the heart, kidney, liver and nervous system. They can also result in other life threatening symptoms like seizures or hallucinations. Although these effects are usually seen with large ingestions of plant material, consuming small amounts should also be considered potentially dangerous.

5. Possibly Toxic. Information on the toxicity of these plants is limited or not well documented. Ingestion of small amounts of plant material is not considered to be a high risk for toxicity.

6. Toxic to Animals. These plants known to be toxic to animals.

For further information on any of the plants listed below, contact the poison information center. If you cannot identify a particular plant, take it to the nearest nursery for assistance in identification.

Wild Plants

Black Snakeroot (4,6)
Bloodroot (4)
Bouncing Bet (4,6)
Dutchman's Breeches (3,6)
Elderberry (4,6)
Florida Arrowroot (4,6)
Golden Calla (2,6)
Iris (1,3,6)

Jack-in-the-Pulpit (2,3,6)
Lady Slipper Orchid (3)
Mayapple (3,4,6)
Mushrooms (wild) (4,6)
Poison Sumac (1,3)
Poison Hemlock (4,6)
Poison Ivy (1,3)
Poison Oak (1,3)

Pokeberry (1)
Queen Anne's Lace (1,3)
Periwinkle (4,6)
Spurge (1,3,6)
Star of Bethlehem (1,3,6)
Water Lettuce (2,6)
Water Hemlock (4,6)
Wisteria (4,6)

Garden Plants

Amaryllis (3,4,6)
Caladium (2,6)
Daffodil (3,4,6)
Deadly Nightshade (4,6)
Four O’clock (1,3,6)

Hyacinth (3,4,6)
Hydrangea (4,6)
Jonquil (4,6)
Lily-of-the-Valley (4,6)
Rose (3)
Madagascar Periwinkle (4,6)

Milk Bush (4,6)
Morning Glory (4)
Potato (leaves, green skins) (1,3,6)
Rhubarb (stems, leaves) (2,3,6)

Landscape Plants

Carolina Jasmine (3,4,6)
Century Plant (2,3,6)
English Ivy (3,4,6)

Jessamine (3)
Fig (3)
Flowering Dogwood (3)

Jimpson Weed (4,6)
Purple Queen (3)
Yellow Alamanda (1,3,6)

Trees and Shrubs

Angel's Trumpet (4,6)
Azalea (4,6)
Bougainvillea (3)
Boxwood (3,4)
Cherry Laurel (4,6)
Chinaberry (4,6)

Eucalyptus (1,6)
Ground Hemlock (4,6)
Holly (4)
Jerusalem Cherry (1)
Juniper (3,4,6)
Yew (4,6)
Ligustrum (1,6)

Live Oak (3,4,6)
Mastwood (1,6)
Oleander (4,6)
Rhododendron (4,6)
Rubber Vine (4,6)
Tung Oil Tree (3,4,6)

House Plants

Cyclamen (4,6)
Dumb Cane (2,6)
Elephant's Ear (2,6)
Hunter's-Robe (2,6)

Ivy (1,3,6)
Mistletoe (5)
Peace Lily (2,6)
Poinsettia (1)
Schefflera (2,6)

Split Leaf Philodendron (2,6)
Umbrella Plant (1,6)
Wandering Jew (3)
Weeping Fig (3)

General Guidelines


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