Thursday, 25 August 2016

Indoor Plants that are Poisonous and Dangerous

Houseplants are a common element in home décor. Beautiful indoor plants add visual interest and greenery to your home interior, aid in purifying the indoor air and may offer medicinal benefits, too.

But this does not mean you can decorate with just any beautiful plant.
Many indoor plants are highly toxic in nature. Such plants can be dangerous for small children and pets, as well as some elderly people.
While some plants are toxic when ingested, some can cause an allergic reaction if you touch the stem or leaves or if your skin comes in contact with the sap or juice.
As most garden centers don’t provide warning labels on potted plants, buyers need to do their own research. This article will help you learn which plants pose the biggest threat to the more vulnerable members of your family.
Here are the top 10 indoor plants that are dangerous.
1. Philodendron
Philodendrons are among the most popular houseplants because they are easy to grow and require little maintenance.
However, these plants contain insoluble crystals of calcium oxalate called raphites, which are the toxic element that makes them potentially dangerous.
While the calcium oxalate crystals usually have a very mild effect on humans, some people may be very sensitive to them. Contact with the plant’s sap may result in a burning sensation in the skin, irritation, and swelling of the lips as well as tongue.
Calcium oxalate is also toxic to pets, such as cats and dogs. Upon ingestion, it may cause possible symptoms including increased salivation, swelling of the tongue, vomiting, convulsions, decreased alertness, breathing problems and difficulty swallowing food.
If you have one of these plants in your home and your pet is showing some of these symptoms, wipe off the affected body part with a cold, wet cloth. Make sure to clean off any visible plant sap from the skin.
If you want to keep your philodendron plant, keep it in a high place that is out of reach of children or pets. Also, make sure to keep the tendrils and leaves trimmed.
2. Dieffenbachia
The dieffenbachia, also called dumb cane, is a beautiful houseplant with large, colorful leaves that definitely adds beauty to any home interior. But you must be aware of the fact that this indoor plant can present a danger to kids and pets.
Its leaves, stalk and roots are highly toxic in nature. The cells of the dieffenbachia plant contain needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals that are highly toxic. Another toxic compound found in this plant is a protein called asparagine.
Both children and pets are vulnerable to this toxic houseplant.
When the leaves are chewed, calcium oxalate crystals can cause a host of symptoms, including intense numbing, oral irritation, excessive drooling and localized swelling. In rare cases, it can even cause difficulty breathing and swallowing.
3. Oleander
Oleander is a beautiful flowering shrub that can be grown indoors as well as outdoors. But, all parts of this plant are poisonous for both humans and pets.
It contains compounds called glycosides which cause symptoms like irregular heartbeat, excess salivation, sweating, oral irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, congested mucus membranes, shallow breathing, incoordination, and even death from cardiac failure.
Its milky latex can be irritating to the skin. In fact, it is best to wear gloves when handling the plant for extended periods.
If you have small children and pets in your home, keep this plant out of reach. Also, make sure to dispose of the trimmings and prunings of this plant carefully. Do not burn them as the smoke produces can be toxic.
This plant is not recommended for homes with cats.
4. Golden Pothos
The golden pothos, commonly known as devil’s ivy, is another indoor plant that is dangerous to pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has listed this houseplant as toxic to both cats and dogs.
Both the stem and leaves contain insoluble calcium oxalates, which upon chewing or biting can be harmful to cats and dogs.
Calcium oxalates cause tissue irritation and possible swelling of the lips, tongue, oral cavity and upper airway when chewed. If the swelling is severe, pets may even shows signs of difficulty breathing or swallowing. Other clinical signs of toxicity include pawing at the face, drooling, foaming,
lack of appetite and vomiting .
Proper care should be taken to ensure the plant is not consumed by pets. Plus, this plant can be toxic to children as well.
5. Arrowhead Plant
This lovely houseplant with long, heart-shaped leaves looks extremely beautiful and gives a nice touch to any home décor. Due to its sheer beauty and easy maintenance, people across the globe love to keep this houseplant in their homes, without even knowing about its toxic nature.
Both humans and animals are vulnerable to its toxic nature. The juice or sap of this plant contains oxalate crystals, which are highly toxic.
Coming in contact with the sap or the leaves can lead to irritated skin, swelling and a burning irritation in the mouth, throat and stomach.
When dogs and cats ingest the leaves, they may exhibit excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, difficulty swallowing, swelling of the mouth and even vomiting.
As the plant grows very quickly and the leaves shed often, you must check for fallen leaves and discard them as soon as possible.
6. Peace Lily
The peace lily, also known as the Mauna Loa plant, is another beautiful and popular houseplant that falls in the dangerous category.
This houseplant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in bundles known as raphites, which are toxic to cats and dogs. These crystals get released upon chewing or biting the leaves, stems or roots and penetrate the pet’s tissue leading to injury.
When a pet ingests the toxic elements of this plant, it can cause symptoms including pawing at the face, oral pain, drooling, foaming and vomiting. Moderate to severe swelling of the lips, tongue, oral cavity and upper airway can also occur. It can also cause dehydration and the possibility of renal failure, which is a severe condition in pets.
It is also poisonous to humans due to the alkaloid lycorine, which is present in the bulbs and stems. In humans, this toxic plant can cause swelling of the lips, mouth and tongue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and difficulty swallowing.

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