Safety

Are your plants poisonous?

They please the eye and purify the air. However, some plants are two faced. Is it toxic or not? Do you have any of these plants at home?

In Canada, there are over 250 poisonus plants. You can also consult a detailed list of the toxic plants that can be found in your province. Take a look at your local poison center’s website.

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.

Read our article "20 plants to be wary about" to see pictures and find out about the risks of these plants on your health.

 

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)
  • Holly
  • Iris
  • Daffodil
  • Oleander
  • Ivy
  • Poinsettia
  • Potato
  • Rhododendron
  • Tobacco
  • Tulip

 

By Josée Descôteaux

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