555 Common Poisonous or Irritating Plants

List for Child and Pet Care Environment

How to prevent poisoning from plants?

Everyone should be aware of the potential danger of plants. Although most plants can be hazardous because they could cause some kind of harm, only a small number of plants are actually deadly. Usually a large quantity of berries, pods, leaves, flowers or seeds must be eaten to cause symptoms. Be aware of plants treated with pesticides or fertilizers. Non-toxic plants treated with toxic chemicals can become dangerous because of the chemicals.

Certain individuals may be allergic or sensitive to plants that others are not. Often it is only your physician that can determine whether certain plants will cause problems for you or your family. While the following list is by no means complete, it does represent the most common plants that may be irritating or poisonous. Some youngsters may be more prone to experimental ingestion than others, so your level of caution will be for you to determine. The risk may be due to high toxicity or some attractive feature of the plant. It is very difficult to eliminate every potential risk, but it is practical and wise to understand them and guard against them as appropriate.

Medium and low risk varieties are generally considered safe in a well-managed environment.

COMMON NAME                           BOTANICAL NAME                             RISK; COMMENTS


1.  Prune off faded flowers to avoid seed set.

2.  Most junipers are very low risk; in situations where children would be in constant contact, avoid varieties of Juniperus sabina such as “Tamariscifolia” (Tam Juniper.)

3.  Most Holly plants need a male and female plant to produce berries; plant male varieties if safety is a concern.

4.  Only a small percentage of children react badly, but can be toxic to those with sensitivity. Best avoided in environment with children.

5.  Don’t confuse with Cannas, which are entirely safe.

6.  Small children can mistake tuberous roots for potatoes.

7.  Seldom sets fruit in Las Vegas; variety “Maki” essentially fruitless.

8.  Native to Southern Nevada; can show up as a flowering weed in your landscape.

9.  Parasite only on our native Mesquites. Prune off of any wild mesquite in your yard.

Can pets get poisoned from plants?

As a general rule, plants that are listed as toxic to humans should also be considered toxic to animals. There are a few cases of plants considered non-toxic or mildly toxic to humans causing problems to animals.

Dogs: Onion, Garlic, Heavenly bamboo, Schefflera, Dracaena, Grapes (raisins)
Cats: Calla Easter lily, Philodendron, Pothos, Scindapus
Birds: Avocado

Perspective: Of the combined total of approximately 65,000,000 dogs in the United States, in 1990 less than 1,000 fatalities were reported from poisonous plant ingestion. Pets in general are instinctively aware of the risks from plants. Some pets however, may not be so savvy, especially when young. Some breeds are much more susceptible than others. Check with your veterinarian!

On-line reference: http://www.calpoison.org  open “Quick Find” to “Plant Guide” for human sensitivity

http://www.dog-first-aid-101.com/toxic-garden-plants.html for animal sensitivity

© 2009 Star Nursery, Inc.