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Monday, March 13, 2017

Caution! Garden May Be Toxic??????


Today I am addressing a serious topic.  I have been getting a lot of emails regarding this specific issue, and thought I would re-post this very important information.  This post has been reprinted in several pet magazines, and has been very helpful to pet owners...I hope it will be helpful to you too.

The other day I was having a conversation about plants in the garden that I avoid planting. One such plant was Heliotrope. I love Heliotrope…it always did what it was supposed to do…and it smelled just glorious…but I abandoned it. Why, you ask? Why would I abandon a plant that was doing well in my greenhouse and gardens?

This is why. Miss Poo LOVED to be in the greenhouse with me , and was never far away when I was planting or weeding or watering the flowers. I would often catch her walking around smelling the flowers…and once I caught her smelling…and nibbling on the heliotrope.

Heliotrope and Lantana are toxic to dogs. When our family’s beloved Miss Poo fell very ill with a mysterious illness that nearly took her life, I got to researching what plants I had in the gardens, that she could possibly have eaten…I was shocked to see that many of the plants that I had been growing all along were poisonous…some even toxic to not just pets, but people too!

Now, most pets and kids do not make it a habit to go around and sample the flowers and things in the gardens, but some may. I made it a point to teach my kids NEVER to put any of the flowers or plants into their mouths right as soon as they learned to crawl. My Miss Poo has since passed away, and my kids are old enough to know not to eat the plants, but I believe that it bears importance to know what we are growing. Just in case- right? RIGHT.

The following is a list of some of the plants that are considered to have adverse effects if eaten, handled etc. This list is far from complete, but it does cover many of our common garden plantings…(and if you live in my area….many of these are houseplants too!) If you do have a plant that is not on my list and you are unsure if it is dangerous or not, you can call your local poison control center and they will have some advice for you.


I love the Bleeding heart plant. (Dicentra spectabilis)…but if eaten the leaves and roots can cause many adverse reactions, such as: loss of balance, weakness, breathing distress and convulsions.

I once had a Castor bean plant. (Ricinus communis)…It was huge and healthy…I had no idea what I had as it was left for me by the previous owner of the house…I was shocked to look it up and find out that it was highly toxic! Just the simple handling of seeds and foliage can cause itching rash! Eating any part of this plant can cause burning in mouth and throat, abdominal pain, digestive problems, convulsions and death. Just one castor bean contains enough ricin to kill an adult within a few minutes! Needless to say…small children and a dog caused this plant to move on to someone else’s house. (that had no pets or kids)

I have always thought Delphinium was such a pretty perennial! (Delphinium spp.)…I had not considered that it was not just pretty but VERY TOXIC! All parts of this plant can cause nausea, abdominal cramps, bloating, paralysis and death. Needless to say…this plant has been relocated to the flower bed in the alley behind the house…just in case.


I plant Flowering tobacco in large quantities each year in my gardens.(Nicotiana alata) I didn’t even consider that it could be highly toxic! All parts of this plant if eaten can cause rapid heartbeat, weakness, blindness, digestive upset, abdominal pain and death. Good thing I didn’t eat any hey?
Foxglove is another common plant.(Digitalis purpurea)…It is also a very toxic toxic one! If ingested. all parts of this plant can cause nausea, abdominal pain, confusion, blurred vision, irregular heartbeat, convulsions and death.

I have not before heard of the Gas plant, but the name of it peaked my curiosity. (Dictamnus albus)…All parts of this plant, especially the seed pods, can cause irregular reddish patches on skin, blistering and staining of skin lasting for several weeks. Handling of this plant is dangerous…which is more than likely why I haven’t heard of it before….no one wants to harvest the seed pods.

Next we discuss Iris.


NOT That Iris!!! YOU GUYS ARE SILLY!!! (that is Grammie… my mom! she is an Iris…but not the one I was looking at…)

Iris (Iris spp.)

Leaves and rhizomes can cause nausea and digestive upset. So can upsetting
Grammie…she doesn’t take no crap ya know…lol

Lily-of-the-valley has never been a favorite of mine. They are invasive!!! (Convallaria majalis)…and as it turns out….also very toxic! All parts of this plant can cause irregulatr heartbeat, nausea, circulatory collapse and death.


Lobelia is one of my all time favorite flowers. I use it in most of my containers. (Lobelia spp.)…In spite of it’s delicate look, and bright flowers, all parts of this plant can cause digestive upset, weakness, tumors and coma if eaten.

OKAY….I LOVE LOBELIA…BUT EAT??? HELLO??? I suppose that what I think of as common sense…isn’t the same for others…lol

Do not eat the Lupine plant! (Lupinus spp.)…All parts of the Lupine plant, especially seeds, can cause breathing problems, convulsions and death.


Monkshood is one of my favorite perennials. (Aconitum spp.)
All parts of this plant, especially the roots and seeds, can cause anxiety, weakness, irregular heartbeat, speech and vision impairment and death if you eat enough of it.


The Poppy plant needs no introduction. (Papaver spp.) It has a reputation of being a prolific bloomer, invasive self seeder…and…Very toxic! Eating unripe seeds can cause deep sleep, dizziness, delirium, slow breathing and death. Ripe poppy seeds are harmless. All other parts of the plant can cause nausea, digestive upset, stomach pain.

Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus)

Ingestion of large amounts of seed can induce cramps, paralysis, and death. Kinda scary since small children could think it is a regular pea plant…


 I don’t think we need a photo to tell us what an apple tree looks like…or the fruit do we?

Apple seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides. I remember the dietician at the doctor’s office telling me why they don’t like children to drink apple juice. When apple juice is made…they do not peel and core the apple…instead they just crush the juice from the entire apple…seeds, peel and all. The toxins from the apple seed are juiced into the juice and it can affect the behaviour of your kids! If you eat enough of the seeds, you could very well die.

Daffodils are deer- and vermin-resistant, and no wonder -- they have a poisonous numbing effect.
DOLLS'S EYE-The fruit of a doll's eye plant contain cardiogenic toxins that can lead to cardiac arrest and death.


These ornamental plants grow low to the ground with many branches. The leaves and unripe fruit are poison.


 -the berries of these ornamental plants are poison and especially dangerous for small children. Symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.



Large flower clusters grow on this deciduous shrub of vines. The leaves, branches and buds are poison. Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, staggering, convulsions and death.


All parts of these noxious common annual weeds are poison, especially weeds and leaves. The symptoms if affected by the plant are: Abnormal thirst, dilated pupils, nausea, hallucinations, convulsions, rapid pulse, high blood pressure, coma.


This erect, coarse perennial plant is found in fields and along damp roadsides . The leaves, stems and sap of this plant are are poison. Upset Stomach will occur if eaten.


This very colorful vine is a popular annual/ornamental plant with seeds that are poisonous. The seeds have a hallucinogenic effect. Symptoms: Digestive upset, stupor, coma and death.


OH BE CAREFUL!….when harvesting these tall annual or perennial bristle weeds. The nettle hairs cause severe itching, burning and skin inflammation. Trust me…been there…done that…a few times.

We all think of the Potato plant as a safe and healthy common garden vegetable, but the sprouts, leaves, shoots and green tubers are poisonous. Symptoms you may feel if you are affected by the non edible parts are: Dilated pupils, digestive upset, numbness, paralysis, circulatory and respiratory depression. This plant Can be fatal.


All of the parts of this woody evergreen /deciduous shrub are considered poisonous, especially the foliage. Persons affected adversely by this plant may feel: Increased saliva and nasal discharge, digestive upset, depression of t he heart and nervous system, paralysis, and stupor. Azalea may be fatal.


 Rhubarb is commonly grown for its edible leaf stock, but beware…the leaves and roots of this common garden plant are poison. Symptoms include: Burning and irritation of the mouth and tongue. May be fatal as this plant can cause the tongue and throat to swell blocking air passage. Other symptoms may include nausea and vomiting. 


The milky sap of the leaves and stems of numerous varieties of this herb or shrub causing severe blistering and burning of the eyes and skin. If eaten these plants may cause acute irritation of the mouth, throat and stomach. These plants can be fatal. 


The vines and leaves of this common plant are poison. ONLY EAT THE FRUIT. The vines and leaves can cause cardiac depression and may be fatal if eaten in large amounts.


I love Wisteria, butit is poison. It may caue stomach upset. Small Children may be poisoned by just one seed!

Other plants that you may wish to be aware of are:
  • Cyclamen -Causes vomiting, gastrointestinal upset and death.
  • Kalanchoe -Causes vomiting and diarrhea.


If your dog loves to dig in your yard or garden, these toxic garden plants are particularly dangerous.
The bulb is the poisonous part of the plant. Keep your dog away from them at all times.
Autumn Crocus

 This is a common houseplant in most homes. It can cause intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting.

Plants in the Aloe Vera family are toxic to dogs! If eaten they cause diarrhea, tremors, depression…and death


Lacy Tree This plant can cause irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting.


Schefflera This plant causes intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting.

 This list is by far not complete…but it is a good start at making us aware of some of the houseplants and greenhouse/garden plants that we take for granted because of their beauty. We should always be careful of what we put into our mouths…and if we are not sure if they are edible or not…take a few moments to look them up or ask someone who is an expert.

That is all I have for today…so I wish you lots of blooms…and good growing!
Until next time..

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.


Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

OMG girl I'm now glad I have only weeds ha ha!! WOW!! some great information my sweet friend..THANKS oh and look at your sweet mama and all those I'm drooling for sure ha ha!!
Love ya girl..Hugs and smiles Gloria

Becca's Dirt said...

That is some list Tootsie and to think it is imcomplete. Well then I suppose that there are more toxic plants than not toxic. Maybe the list should be which ones are not toxic. Buddy stays on a leash but during the summer I put him on a 25' chain in the front while I work in the gardens - I will be keeping a closer eye on the little bugger. With just the right plants someone could get high. The seeds in apples - didn't know - how many times have you missed a seed when coring. I have and bit into it. Thanks for so much information. I know it took time to look up all this info.

Jeannie B. said...

Wow! At this point I am waiting for your post telling me what plants are friendly!! Thanks for the warning.

Patty Sumner said...

I am shocked! How surprising....I learned alot! Thank you. So many of those plants are some of my favorites! Thank you for taking the time to post all that valuable info. Blessings!

Anonymous said...

I seldom leave comments on blog, but I have been to this post which was recommend by my friend, lots of valuable details, thanks again.

La Petite Gallery said...

Gosh, I had no idea so many were so dangerous. Now IRIS, she is a hot looking tomatoe. This is such a great post, I am trying to find out how to refer you on my post. yvonne

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. Is anyone else thinking about who they would like to make really sick? Just kidding. Thanks for the information.

Tootsie said...

hahahaha! I love your humor!!! hahahahahaha! made my day!

Becca's Dirt said...

Wow. I never knew so many plants would be on your list and it isn't complete. I have some of those. I try to keep the dogs out of the gardens because of digging. Now I have even more reason to keep them out. My new puppy tends to grab leaves but so far he hasn't eaten any that I know of. I will be more diligent. Thanks for the info.

Karen said...

Oh my goodness, Thanks for that info. I have more than half of those growing in my greenhouse!! DEFINITELY WILL BE MORE CAREFUL :-)

siteseer said...

what an eye opener. I have several of those plants.. no pets, but little grandchildren that will be watched much more closely. My granddaughters were picking dandilions this weekend and the oldest one came and showed me the pretty purple ones that she picked lol The grape hyasis (sp) brought a beautiful smile to her face. the younger granddaughter grabbed at a tulip but because it didn't come off easily she abandoned it lol I love watching them enjoy the colors :)