Indeed, some plants can poison you when ingested while others only need to be touched in order to produce a reaction in sensitive persons.
The toxic substances of plants (or toxins) are usually classified by the nature of their effects or by chemical components. For example, the allergenic plants include those that cause hay fever; phenols regroup poison ivy and nettles; the category of resins and volatile oils include poinsettia and rhododendron, while carcinogen and cocarcinogen, such as poinsettia and bracken fern can cause cancer.
Many plants are slightly toxic or produce symptoms only in unusual circumstances (for example, when the poisonous substance contained in the plant in consumed in large quantities). Moreover, if the plant is listed among the extremely toxic plants, very small quantities may produce no symptom.
What to do in case of poisoning?
If a toxic substance is swallowed
- Do not induce vomiting
- Don’t try to neutralize the product. Milk is not an antidote.
- Rinse and clean the mouth
- Immediately call your local poison center
If a toxic product splashes on your skin
- Remove all clothing that covers the affected area
- Wash with water (warm tap water) for at least 15 minutes
- Call your local poison center
Do not put anything on the skin before calling your local poison center.
What about your pet?
Most plants mentioned above are also toxic for animals. Here are the main plants that are toxic for animals:
- Morning Glory
- Mistletoe (and berries)