Poisonous Plants Toxic to Humans
One risk of having house plants is that some of them are poisonous. If you have pets or children, it’s important to know what varieties of plants you have, and whether or not they are toxic. Both flowering plants and foliage plants can be poisonous. Some common poisonous house plants are Dieffenbachia, Poinsettia, Cyclamen, Philodendrons, and Sago Palm, just to name a few. Unfortunately, some of these poisonous plants are among the best indoor plants for beginners to grow. Websites don’t agree whether Spider Plants are poisonous, but I would consider them so just to be safe. Keeping poisonous plants in flower pots high up on indoor plant stands or plant hangers can help minimize the risk to children and pets.
The New York Botanical Garden website contains a list of common poisonous house plants as well as guidelines for dealing with a poisoning. They state that it’s important to know what plant has been consumed as well as the quantity, and list local and national poison control hotline phone numbers.
The Indiana Poison Control Center makes a point of saying “Don’t assume that a plant is non-toxic just because it’s not on any of these lists.” There is a link to their PDF format list of poisonous plants at the end of this article as well as a link to the University of Wisconsin Children’s Hospital. You must have Adobe Reader to open these documents. The lists that I provide here are NOT exhaustive, so if a person or pet ingests a plant, please call a poison control hotline to be safe.
The national Poison Control Hotline phone number for the United States is: 1-800-222-1222, but it’s wise to find your local poison control number and keep it readily accessible. Here is a link to the New York Botanical Gardens’ website where they have a spreadsheet of poisonous plants and what symptoms those plants will cause if ingested: http://www.nybg.org/plants/factsheets/poison.html.
Most Palm Plants, African Violets, Roses, many varieties of Succulent Plants, tropical plants and Orchids are non-toxic, but if a loved-one ingests any plant that is not considered normal food for their species, it’s best to be safe and contact poison control. Even normal human foods can be dangerous to pets. In addition, some items used for Orchid care general plant health care, such as fertilizers, might also be toxic to humans and pets, so be sure to keep them in a safely out of reach.
Poisonous Plants Toxic to Animals
I believe that all of the plants poisonous to humans are also poisonous to pets, but I know for a fact that many plants that are safe for human consumption are poisonous to pets, so please be sure to check with a poison control center before allowing your pet to eat a plant or vegetable. Onions and garlic are examples of vegetables that are toxic to both cats and dogs. Please see the ASPCA article: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets.
Lilies are particularly poisonous to cats and can cause severe kidney failure or death. If your cat ingests a plant in the Lily family, seek veterinary help immediately! The ASPCA has a Database of Toxic and Non-Toxic plants on their website: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants.
The ASPCA poisonous plants database features plants poisonous to cats, poisonous plants for dogs, and poisonous plants for horses, as well. There is a phone number specific to the ASPCA for animal poisonings. The United States ASPCA number is: 1-800-548-2423.
Please take time to find the poison control numbers for your area, they could save a life. For more information on cat health, please visit: Healthy Cats.
Sources and Citations
http://www.nybg.org/plants/factsheets/poison.html – research source
http://iuhealth.org/images/met-doc-upl/plant-guide.pdf – research source
http://www.uwhealth.org/files/uwhealth/docs/pdf/poisonous_plants.pdf – research source