Household plants have the remarkable capacity to shift the look and Feng shui of an interior space instantaneously, bringing luscious life to otherwise cold or empty corners. But what you may be shocked to learn is that many common house plants have toxic consequences if handled or ingested, striking caution to any home with young children or curious pets.
The following is a list of 10 plants every parent or pet caretaker should place mindfully or avoid altogether when furnishing their space.
Daffodil is a name commonly applied to all varieties of Narcissus flowers. Daffodils are highly toxic, especially if the bulb is ingested. They can cause intense stomach problems, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. When eaten, they can also cause high blood pressure, tremors, and irregular heartbeat. In some cases, ingestion of the bulbs can even be fatal. Daffodils are toxic to both humans and pets.
Hyacinths share the same symptoms with daffodils when ingested – primarily nausea that leads to vomiting and diarrhea. And as with daffodils, they can be fatal, and are toxic for pets as well.
3. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)
This popular houseplant grows in low-light conditions. It has earned one of its common names, dumb cane, because of the symptoms that occur when its eaten. The sap causes the tongue to burn and swell, enough to block off air to the throat. It can be fatal to both humans and pets if ingested in large amounts.
Nerium oleander looks delicate and innocent, but is so toxic that even ingesting honey made from its nectar can produce symptoms.
Deaths in adult humans have been reported with as little as one leaf eaten, but the majority of deaths occur when very large amounts are ingested. Children are more susceptible and should be kept away from Oleander plants.
Humans: Arrhythmia, dizziness, and tremors.
Cats and Dogs: Arrhythmia, vomiting, and cold extremities.
5. Peace Lily
The peace lily, or spathiphyllum, is not a member of the liliaceae family, and therefore not a true lily. There are many varieties of peace lily, with the “Mauna Loa” being one of the most common indoor ornamentals.
They are also excellent air purifiers. Like philodendrons and pothos, however, they can cause painful symptoms and sometimes death if ingested by humans or animals, including burning and swelling of lips, mouth, and tongue, difficulty speaking or swallowing, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
6. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, AKA Snake Plant
Another great floor plant, the mother-in-law’s tongue, or snake plant, has leathery, sword-like leaves that earned the plant its sharp name. The sleek, upright shape means the mother-in-law’s tongue can complement an arrangement of softer, bushier plants.
The toxicity level for humans is low, producing short-lasting symptoms such as mouth pain, salivation, and some nausea. In rare instances, it can produce a dermatological reaction, but is mainly only toxic if ingested. Animals can experience excessive salivation, pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested.
7. Aloe Vera
Aloe has long been a popular household plant due to its many medicinal properties, including its ability to aid with burns, cuts, and skin problems. While the gel inside the plant is known for these properties, the skin and and other inner layers can irritate human skin on contact and irritate intestines upon ingestion.
Make sure the plant’s skin and subsequent yellow layer of latex are adequately cut away from the aloe gel before using. The plant is mildly toxic to pets if consumed, but is okay for topical uses (many dog shampoos utilize aloe gel).
8. English Ivy
English Ivy is a vine plant grown both indoors and outdoors for decorative purposes. It is poisonous to humans, pets, and livestock when eaten. Symptoms include breathing difficulties, convulsions, vomiting, and in extreme cases, paralysis and coma.
Eating the flower buds of a hydrangea can cause stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, heavy breathing, lethargy, and can even lead to a coma. This plant can also be poisonous to pets if ingested.
Irises are poisonous to both people and pets. If eaten, they can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, and fever.
While most of these plants are not fatally toxic, all of them will cause unpleasant symptoms if ingested, so be sure to take caution if any of these plants are of easy access for your curious pets or children.