Common house plants that are poisonous

There are so many plants that are in use as home-decorative plants and flowers today. Lovely as they may be to look at, the majority do contain toxins in their sap or parts that can be harmful to humans and animals at different intensities. Understanding what dangers some of these plants pause to your children and pets is crucial not only in knowing which plants to have in your home, but also on how to identify and manage allergic reactions to them.

Some of the most commonly used plants in Kenyan homes include (but not limited to):

1. Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Commonly used as an ornamental shrub as well as hedges, this plant is the most dangerous as it contains several toxins in all its parts. These cause severe gastrointestinal upsets and can also lead to death when ingested. Skin irritation occurs when its sap comes into contact with the skin.

2. Oleander Daffodil (Narcissus)

Also known as ‘Narcissus’, the daffodil’s bulb is highly poisonous. Its application on broken skin or ingestion leads to paralyzing effects to the body’s involuntary muscles including the heart.

3. Daffodil. Dieffenbachia (Dumb cane)

The sap of the Dieffenbachia contains toxins that when ingested cause the tongue to have a burning sensation and swell. This may result in blocking-off of the throat and subsequent suffocation.

4. Dieffenbachia Heart-leaf philodendron

This plant of the genus Araceae contains calcium oxalate in its leaves. If chewed or swallowed, the toxin causes swelling of lips, tongue and respiratory airway. Severe reactions result in difficulty breathing.

5. Heart-leaved philodendron Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

This plant’s leaves contain toxins similar to that of the heart-leaved philodendron. Chewing of the leaves irritates the oral cavity and lips and severe reactions involve swelling of the mouth and throat and may lead to suffocation.

6. Golden pothos Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

Commonly known in many parts of the  world as the ‘Christmas plant’, the poinsettia is a lovely plant decked out in dark green leaves with colorful, often red, ducts at its top. The plant contains traces of toxins that result in mild reactions when ingested. Its sap causes temporary blindness when it gets into contact with the eyes. Other reactions include mild irritation to skin and stomach.streaming Rings 2017 film

Poinsettia7. Hydrangea (Hydrangea mycrophylla)

Hydrangeas come in many colors bright and attractive to animals. It is therefore expected that the plant would have its defenses up. The buds and leaves of this plant bare toxins that when ingested lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty in breathing. Severe reactions to the plants’ toxins are lethargy and coma.


It is important to keep in mind that most plants have toxins that affect human beings and animals in different ways depending on mode of interaction (touch, ingestion.) Though an adult would know how to handle the plants in their homes, a child or pet will not have knowledge of how to. Take time to research on plants in your home or whenever you intend to make a buy.

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