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Home > Plants, Pests & Pest Control > Bad Plants > Common plants that can cause poisoning

Common plants that can cause poisoning


The plants listed can cause a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild skin irritation to serious poisoning that could be fatal. Many other plants can also cause symptoms of poisoning but they are not usually encountered in Minnesota. The poisoning can generally be classified as either systemic or dermal and sometimes both occur. Systemic poisoning caused by ingestion of plant parts can be the most serious. The most common poisoning is dermal caused by contact with the plant. If symptoms occur, contact a poison control center and/or your medical doctor immediately.

ORNAMENTAL PLANTS

TOXIC PART(S)

SYMPTOMS OR OTHER INFORMATION

Daphne mezereum (deciduous, rounded shrubs, red/yellow fruit).

All parts of the plant but usually fruit and seeds

Thirst, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, potential kidney damage; Symptoms may persist for days; Can be fatal.

Wisteria sp (woody vines).

All parts of the plant

Nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, lasting up to 24 hours.

Laburnum anagyroides, Golden Chain, (small tree, flat seed pods).

All parts of the plant but particularly seeds.

Vomiting, drowsiness, weakness, lack of coordination, sweating, pallor, headache, vision difficulty, irregular heart beat.

Rhododendron sp., Azalea, Rose laurel, (deciduous shrubs)

Leaves, honey from nectar.

Initial burning of mouth and hours later, salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, muscular weakness, sweating; Can be fatal.

Cestrum sp., Jessamine, (ever-green shrub or tall bush).

Fruit and sap.

Ingestion of fruit causes digestive upset.

Lantana camara, Red sage, (sprawling shrub, prickly stems).

Green or immature berries

Weakness, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, vision difficulty, affects heart; Can be fatal. Indoor or ornamental plant in Minnesota.

Yew (evergreen trees and shrubs)

Most of the plant, including seeds.

Dizziness, dry mouth, lips cyanotic, salivation, vomiting, cramps, rash may occur, affects heart and lungs; Can be fatal.

TREES AND SHRUBS

TOXIC PART(S)

SYMPTOMS OR OTHER INFORMATION

Wild and cultivated cherries (deciduous fruit trees and shrubs).

Seed, sometimes leaves and twigs.

Releases cyanide hours after being eaten; Abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, sweating; Coma can result; Can be fatal.

Oaks (tall deciduous tree).

Acorns

Affects kidneys gradually. Symptoms appear after days or even weeks. A large amount is needed for poisoning.

Elderberry (6 to 12 foot shrub, white flowers, purple-black fruit).

All parts of the plant, berries are edible if cooked after they are ripe.

Children have experienced symptoms from using hollowed out stems as toy blowguns. Nausea, digestive upset.

Black locust (tall deciduous tree, compound leaves, white flowers).

Bark, seeds, foliage.

Delayed symptoms; Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; Potentially serious poisoning can result.

HOUSE PLANTS

TOXIC PART(S)

SYMPTOMS OR OTHER INFORMATION

Hyacinth, Daffodil, Narcissus

Bulbs.

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, also may cause dermatitis.

Oleander (flowering shrub up to 20 feet tall).

All parts of the plant, smoke from burning it, water that cut flowers are placed in.

Mouth pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea; Affects the heart; Can be fatal.

Poinsettia (ornamental flower).

Latex sap.

Occasional cases of dermatitis and digestive distress.

Dieffenbachia, Dumb cane (tall unbranched ornamental plants).

Leaves.

Chewing causes immediate burning and swelling of the mouth and tongue; Causes dermatitis; No systemic poisoning in humans.

Rosary Pea (slender twining vine with woody base).

Chewed or broken seeds.

Delayed symptoms; Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, oral lesions, loss of intestinal function; One well-chewed seed can be fatal.

Castor Bean (annual herbaceous plant, ornamental in Minnesota).

Seeds

Delayed symptoms; Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, massive fluid and electrolyte loss; Two to six seeds can be fatal.

Mistletoe (parasitic plant on trees).

Leave; Stems; Large amounts of berries.

Delayed symptoms; Vomiting, cramps, diarrhea; Can be fatal.

VEGETABLE GARDEN PLANTS

TOXIC PART(S)

SYMPTOMS OR OTHER INFORMATION

Rhubarb

Leaves

Fatal; Large amounts of raw or cooked leaves can cause convulsions and coma followed rapidly by death.

FLOWER GARDEN PLANTS

TOXIC PART(S)

SYMPTOMS OR OTHER INFORMATION

Larkspur

Young plants; seeds.

Digestive upset, nervous excitement; Can be fatal.

Monkshood (Erect perennial, tuberous roots).

All parts of the plant, especially leaves and roots.

Burning of mouth, throat and then numbness; Salivation, nausea, vomiting; Dizziness, weakness, affects heart; Can be fatal.

Autumn Crocus, Star of Bethlehem (White and purple flowered lily).

All parts of the plant.

Burning and pain of mouth and throat; Intense thirst; Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea; Affects kidneys.

Lily-of-the-valley (Perennial with white bell-shaped flowers).

All parts of the plant, especially roots and seeds.

Salivation, nausea, vomiting; Headache, blurred vision; Thirst; Sweating; Dizziness; Convulsions; Coma; Can be fatal.

Iris (Popular flower; 3 species poisonous).

Rootstock.

Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

Foxglove (Biennial or perennial flowers).

All parts of the plant.

Pain and swelling of mouth; Speech difficulty; May last several days; Dermatitis. Affects the heart. Can be fatal.

Bleeding Heart (Dutchman's breeches)

Foliage; roots.

Dermatitis; Poisonous in large amounts; Can be fatal to cattle.

PLANTS IN WOODED AREAS

TOXIC PART(S)

SYMPTOMS OR OTHER INFORMATION

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

All parts of the plant.

Inflammation of mouth and throat; Salivation; Symptoms caused by crystals of calcium oxalate; No systemic poisoning in humans.

Moonseed (Woody vine, grape-like fruits).

Berries.

Convulsions; Can be fatal.

Mayapple (Wide lobed leaves, white flower, greenish egg sized fruit).

All parts of the plant.

Ingestion of large quantities or application of resin to skin can be fatal; Coma, kidney failure, dermatitis.

PLANTS IN FIELDS

TOXIC PART(S)

SYMPTOMS OR OTHER INFORMATION

Buttercups (Annual and perennial plants).

Sap and roots.

Inflammation of the mouth; Abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, kidney irritation, dizziness, occasional convulsions.

Nightshade (Annual plant with edible black berries when ripe).

Generally the immature or green berries.

Not a problem for adults but can be fatal to children; Delayed but persistent symptoms; Stomach irritation, sore throat, fever, diarrhea.

Poison hemlock (Looks like a large carrot with lacy leaves and white root).

All parts of the plant, especially root and seeds.

Irritation of mouth and throat; Salivation, nausea, vomiting; Headache, vision difficulty, thirst, dizziness; In severe cases, convulsions, coma, respiratory failure; Can be fatal.

Jimsonweed (Tall annual plant, white flowers, spiny golf ball sized seed pods).

All parts of the plant but seeds usually cause poisoning.

Dry mouth, vision difficulty, dry warm skin, reddish complexion, heart irregularity, delirium, hallucinations; Can be fatal.

PLANTS IN SWAMP/WET SOILS

TOXIC PART(S)

SYMPTOMS OR OTHER INFORMATION

Water hemlock (Very tall plant, tuberous chambered roots, white scented flowers).

All parts of the plant, especially the roots.

In as little as fifteen minutes, nausea, salivation, sometimes vomiting; Convulsions; Can be fatal before medical attention can be of help.

Source: AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, American Medical Association, copyright 1985. Prepared and distributed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection Division, Seed and Noxious Weed Unit.