Nurturing houseplants is all fun and games until your dog — or for that matter, your child — bites on one. It not only destroys the plant, but can also be terribly toxic to your pet/child.
And the intimidating part is — toxic plants are more common than you think! This makes it essential to monitor the species of your leafy friends, so the ones you grow are safe for your family.
In that regard, here are the top 5 toxic plants you must protect your children and pets from:
Although there are several varieties of cacti that are safe, the Pencil Cactus (member of the genus Euphorbiaceae) is one variety that isn’t. In fact, it is one of the most poisonous houseplants out there!
The plant contains a milky sap causing irritation to the skin and blindness if exposed to the eyes. If consumed, it causes a burning sensation, nausea, and vomiting.
Owing to its aesthetic beauty and sturdiness, the Heartleaf Philodendron (member of the genus Philodendron) is very famous amongst home-gardeners. But the bad part is, it is extremely dangerous, being toxic to both pets and children.
The entire plant, especially its leaves and plants, are harmful when ingested. Symptoms of poisoning include extreme skin irritation, swelling of the mouth, drooling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
The Devil’s Ivy (Pothos), belonging to the genus Epipremnum, is another very toxic plant for pets and children. Its leaves contain tiny, needle-shaped crystals that can irritate and cause swelling if ingested.
Additionally, the sap contained in the plant can cause rashes on the skin, and result in difficulties with swallowing and breathing if consumed.
Peace Lily (from the genus Spathiphylla) isn’t quite as peaceful as its name. If your pets or children happen to get hold of it, the only thing there’s going to be is chaos!
This is because Peace Lily contains oxalate crystals. Consuming any part of the plant, especially its sap/juice, interferes with blood calcium levels, making the blood toxic in both pets and children. Symptoms of peace lily poisoning include burning and itching sensations, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy.
Aloe Vera gel has healing properties, but its outer layer contains compounds that may be toxic to pets and children.
This layer, situated just beneath the stiff outer covering, contains a chemical similar to latex. When consumed, this can cause nasal irritation, breathing problems, and wheezing. If Aloe Vera’s sap is consumed in large quantities, diarrhea may result in humans and vomiting in pets.
Keeping houseplants is rewarding, but also comes with great responsibility. Be sure to avoid the above-mentioned toxic plants and any other unsafe varieties. If you do decide to grow them, keep them in protected places that are out of reach of your children and pets.
If a member of your family (including furry fellows) happens to consume a toxic plant, be sure to seek medical help immediately!