Houseplants are not only for ornamental purposes, but they also add value to our homes. Some are known for their purifying abilities, while others may be edible or even medicinal. Living in Asia, we love filling our homes with beautiful indoor houseplants for these reasons. However, are you aware of which of these are poisonous plants to humans – especially to our curious babies and toddlers who love putting things in their mouths?
These poisonous plants that we’re going to tell you about can be quite harmful to children and sometimes even pets.
Such plants can poison your little ones or even your beloved pets if they:
- Touch their leaves or lick or swallow them
- Ingest blossoms, berries and roots of plants
- Have skin contact with juices or sap
- Eat plant soil accidentally or on purpose
- Drink water from the plant tray
Because we have your safety at heart, remember these seven poisonous plants to humans, and avoid buying them the next time you go indoor plant shopping.
7 Poisonous Plants to Humans and Pets
If eaten, philodendron can cause mild side-effects such as dermatitis, swelling of the mouth and imbalance in the digestive tract. | Image courtesy: Screengrab/Dengarden
This is one most common houseplants and is easy to grow. It can brighten and beautify any room it’s kept in, but it contains calcium oxalate crystals. These occur naturally in the plant and are toxic to humans and animals.
How it affects humans: If ingested, it can cause mild side-effects such as dermatitis, swelling of the mouth and imbalance in the digestive tract. In rare cases, ingesting Philodendron has been fatal.
How it affects animals: This plant can cause spasms, swelling and even choking in animals, especially to dogs. It can be especially dangerous to cats.
Pothos Ivy can cause severe vomiting, nausea, burning and swelling of the mouth, and skin irritation. | Image courtesy: Screengrab/Dengarden
The Pothos Ivy or Devil’s Ivy has variegated leaves and it is known for its decorative value. It is also an air purifying plant and is often given as a gift as well.
After a few weeks, depending on care and the weather, they grow several new shoots. This is the natural process how new plants grow from potted parent plants. But it can be mildly harmful to children and animals.
How it affects humans: If ingested, it can cause lead to severe vomiting, nausea, burning and swelling of the mouth, skin irritation, swelling of lips and tongue.
How it affects animals: In animals, this plant can cause even more health problems, including severe salivation, vomiting, nausea, and upset stomach. In rare cases, symptoms can even be as fatal as renal failure.
The arrowhead can cause an upset tummy, and irritated skin in animals. | Image courtesy: Screengrab/Dengarden
This plant is related to Philodendron, but doesn’t necessarily have the same level of oxalate crystals. It is also a great houseplant for it’s low on care and lasts long and can be potted with other similar plants.
The arrowhead is often given as a gift for its decorative value. However, you have to bear in mind that this plant constantly sheds leaves, and they shouldn’t come in contact (read eaten) with kids or pets.
How it affects humans: If ingested, it can cause side-effects such as vomiting, an upset stomach and irritated skin.
How it affects animals: This plant can have a similar reaction to animals. If ingested, it can cause an upset tummy, and irritated skin.
If ingested, lilies can cause vomiting, blurred vision, head ache as well as skin irritation. | Image courtesy: Pixabay
Lilies are such beautiful flowers. They look decorative, last long and are easy to maintain at home. Plus, they are a great gifting option.
And while not all types of lilies are toxic, some specific types definitely can be. For instance, calla lilies can be fatal if ingested by a baby. Easter, Tiger, Rumbrum, Day and Asian lilies are also dangerous to humans, if ingested.
How it affects humans: If ingested, lilies can cause vomiting, blurred vision, headaches as well as skin irritation.
How it affects animals: Lilies can be more toxic to cats than to dogs. Cats can become lethargic, lose their appetite and/or suffer from vomiting. If left untreated, they can also suffer from renal failure.
Animals, whether dogs or cats will have the same reaction to this plant as humans. | Image courtesy: Screengrab/Dengarden
This plant is also commonly known as the dumb cane. It is related to the philodendron and also contains the same oxalate crystals as that plant. It has thick stems and the foliage leaves are bright green with a dash of cream and yellow in between.
Unfortunately, this plant is easy to digest because it is a small plant if not potted. The good news is that this plant is only moderately poisonous to humans, if eaten.
How it affects humans: If ingested, it can cause mild side-effects such as swelling of the mouth, numbing of the mouth and throat and burning sensation in the mouth as well as salivation.
How it affects animals: Animals, whether dogs or cats will have the same reaction to this plant as humans. They will also experience swelling of mouth and burning sensation in the mouth as well as vomiting.
This plant is equally unforgiving to animals if ingested. It can cause choking, difficulty in breathing, nausea, drooling, head shaking, and vomiting. | Image courtesy: Screengrab/Dengarden
This is a South American bulb plant and has long-lasting foliage. That’s why most people prefer to plant it in their homes and some even use it for landscaping. You will also find them in a variety of colours such as green, pink, red and white.
Plus, they do not need a lot of maintenance. But as with most of these other plants poisonous to humans, the caladium is no different.
How it affects humans: It should be kept away from the reach of children and not ingested at any cost. If it is ingested, the caladium can cause burning and swelling of the mouth, difficulty in breathing, speaking and even swallowing. It can even block the airways and choke one to death.
How it affects animals: This plant is equally unforgiving to animals if ingested. It can cause choking, difficulty in breathing, nausea, drooling, head shaking, and vomiting.
7. Snake Plant, aka Mother-In-Law’s Tongue
This plant is not so forgiving on animals, and can cause excessive body ache, diarrhea, salivation, vomiting and salivation. | Image courtesy: Screengrab/Dengarden
This is perhaps one of the most popular foliage plants and is known for its decorative features. It has pointy, sharp leaves lending the name mother-in-law’s tongue. It also looks snake-like, and so, is also known as the snake plant.
People often plant it in their homes for decorative purposes and also because it comes in colour variants. It is also considered to be a good-luck plant. But it can be toxic if ingested.
How it affects humans: Although its toxicity is low, it can cause short-term effects such as swelling of mouth, salivation, nausea and even mouth pain. In certain rare cases, it can cause dermatological complications, but only if ingested.
How it affects animals: This plant is not so forgiving on animals though. It can cause excessive body ache, diarrhea, salivation, vomiting and salivation.
So the next time you go plant shopping, make sure to remember our list of plants you should not buy. If you do have them already in your homes, please they are kept out of reach of your little ones and pets.
Feature & lead images courtesy: Pixabay