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04-28-97

08-14-95


PLANT SMARTS

Poisonous plants are everywhere. Their lush leaves and bright berries can be deceptively dangerous and even deadly.

Fortunately, most plant exposures result in only minor, if any, toxicity. However, poisonous plants, household cleaners, and medicines are the three most common causes of accidental poisoning in children under five years of age.

It is important to be aware of your surroundings and to be PLANT SMART.

This information is designed to help you identify Oklahoma's poisonous plants and prevent plant poisonings. It is not intended to be all-inclusive. Call your physician or the
 

Oklahoma Poison Control Center
1-800-222-1222

in the event of a suspected plant poisoning.

The following list of poisonous plants will help parents and young children alike learn to recognize poisonous plants in their neighborhoods.

It is intended to make us all aware of the dangers plants can pose for our children every day. This list of plants is not all-inclusive. If you do not find our plant on this list, write to your Poison Control Center for additional information. In the event of a suspected poisoning, contact a physician or the Oklahoma Poison Control Center immediately.

 

WISTERIA

Toxic Parts: Seeds and pods.

Symptoms: Mild to severe digestive upset.

PRIVET

Toxic Parts: All parts, especially berries and leaves.

Symptoms: Mild to severe digestive upset. May be fatal.

YEW

Toxic Parts: Entire plant, especially the seed within the red berry when chewed.

Symptoms: Depresses heart action. Death is usually sudden without warning symptoms.

AZALEAS, LAURELS, RODODENDRON

Toxic Parts: All parts.

Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting and difficulty breathing. May be fatal.

HOLLY

Toxic Parts: Berries.

Symptoms: Severe gastroenteritis.

HYACINTH, NARCISSUS, DAFFODIL, AUTUMN CROCUS

Toxic Parts: Bulbs.

Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. May be fatal.

ROSARY PEA, CASTOR BEAN

Toxic Parts: Seeds and foliage.

Symptoms: Burning in mouth and stomach pains. A single rosary pea seed or castor bean may be fatal.

OLEANDER

Toxic Parts: All parts.

Symptoms: Severe digestive upsets. Extremely toxic! A single leaf can kill a child.

CALADIUM, DUMBCANE, ELEPHAT EAR, PHILODENDRON

Toxic Parts: All Parts.

Symptoms: Intense burning and irritation of the tongue and mouth. Death can occur if the base of the tongue swells blocking air passage.

ENGLISH IVY

Toxic Parts: Leaves and berries.

Symptoms: Stomach pains, labored breathing and, possibly, coma.

POINSETTIA

Although previously considered a poisonous plant, recent studies have shown that the poinsettia is nontoxic. Ingestion of small amounts may result in mild gastrointestinal irritation.

IRIS

Toxic Parts: Fleshy underground portions.

Symptoms: Severe digestive upset.

LUPINE

Toxic Parts: All parts, especially ripe seeds.

Symptoms: Breathing difficulty, death.

BLACK LOCUST

Toxic Parts: Bark, sprouts, foliage and seeds.

Symptoms: Nausea, weakness and depression. May be fatal.

OAKS

Toxic Parts: Foliage and acorns.

Symptoms: Affects kidneys gradually. Symptoms appear on after days or weeks.

MUSHROOMS

General Note: No wild mushrooms should be ingested.

One or two bites of poisonous types can be fatal.

Toxic Parts: All parts.

Symptoms: Stomach cramps, thirst and difficulty breathing. May be fatal.

JIMSON WEED, THORNAPPLE

Toxic Parts: All parts.

Symptoms: Abnormal thirst, distorted vision, delirium and coma. May be fatal.

MISTLETOE

Toxic Parts: All parts, especially berries.

Symptoms: Acute stomach and intestinal irritation and diarrhea. May be fatal.

POKEWEED, POKEBERRY

Toxic Parts: Roots, berries and leaves. Poisonous when eaten raw or improperly cooked.

Symptoms: Burning in mouth. Severe digestive upset, convulsions.

POISON IVY

Toxic Parts: All parts.

Symptoms: Intense itching, blisters, rash and swelling of mouth.

Click here to jump to our special Poision Ivy page!

CHERRY, WILD AND CULTIVATED

Toxic Parts: Leaves, twigs and seeds.

Symptoms: Gasping, excitement, difficulty breathing and paralysis of voice.

The toxic part of the plant combines in the body to form cyanide.

POTATO

Toxic Parts: Foliage and green parts of vegetables.

Symptoms: Digestive disturbances and cardiac depression. May be fatal.



PLANT SAFETY

Know the plants in your area, home, and yard. Label all potted plants. Make a sketch of your yard, labeling the names of all plants, trees, and bushes.

Keep plants, seeds, berries and bulbs stored safely away from children and pets.

Teach your children at an early age to keep plants, berries, flowers or mushrooms out of their mouths

Do not eat wild plants. Heating and cooking do not always destroy plant poisons. Remove all mushrooms from your yard.

Do not allow children to suck on flowers or to make "tea" with plants and flowers.

Never chew on jewelry made from seeds or beans. Do not make "hot dog roasting" sticks or toys from unknown trees.

Avoid smoke from burning plants unless you know their exact identification.

Be especially cautious after spraying the yard or flower beds with a pesticide.

 

REMEMBER THAT NO PLANT IS COMPLETELY SAFE!

A plant leaf can easily block a child's airway.

 

PLANT TRUTHS

Plants that are safe for animals or birds can be poisonous to humans. If you see a plant or berry being eaten by an animal, this does not mean the plant is safe for people to eat. Birds safely eat poke and mistletoe berries, but these berries can be very dangerous if consumed by a human being.

The fluid from a poison ivy rash can not give a poison ivy rash to another person. Only the plant's oil can cause this reaction in susceptible people. If you touch poison ivy, wash the area as soon as possible with soap and water. Also, wash anything else, which may have been in contact, such as clothing, animals or camping gear.

Poinsettias may cause vomiting, but are not fatal.

Pokeberries can not be made safe for pies.

IF EXPOSED TO A POISONOUS PLANT,
FOLLOW THESE STEPS:



MOUTH

Remove any remaining portion of the plant, berry or mushroom.

Save and preserve a piece of the mushroom or plant in a dry jar or brown paper bag for later identification.

Have the patient wash out mouth with water or wipe with wet cloth.

Check for any irritation, swelling, or discoloration. Check if it is difficult for the patient to drink by offering a sip of water.

Call the Poison Control Center. Bring the patient and plant to the phone, if possible.


SKIN

A few plants may cause irritation, itching and/or rash to the skin. To prevent further irritation, remove contaminated clothing and wash skin well with soap and water.

Call the Poison Control Center. Bring the patient and plant to the phone, if possible.


EYES

Wash hands with soap and water to avoid further irritation to the eye.

Rinse eye well with lukewarm tap water for 15 minutes. Standing in a cool shower to wash out eyes is an easy way to rinse the eye.

Call the Poison Control Center. Bring the paient and plant to the phone, if possible.

The text content of this web page is based on information contained in the Oklahoma Poison Center publication, "Plant Smarts" published by the University of Oklahoma and available in brochure form created by the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy at the OU Medical Center.
 
Click HERE to jump to the Oklahoma Poison Control Center website



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