Houseplants: The top five ‘most dangerous plants’ that you might have at home

Monty Don provides advice on watering houseplants

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Houseplants are an on-trend aesthetic feature to have in the home right now, and they also boast a number of health benefits such as air purification. However, certain species of plants can actually pose a threat.

Many plants are known to be dangerous for households with pets, especially if your furry friend is prone to chowing down on your greenery.

However, according to experts from B Well CBD, there are also some houseplants that pose a threat to humans too.

B Well CBD point out that this is something parents with young children, in particular, should be aware of, as little ones may “not known any better”.

There are over 700 plants that are dangerous to humans and animals, and of these, the experts have ranked the five “most dangerous” indoor houseplants.

Which plants should you look out for?

1 Oleander

Of the houseplants analysed, the experts rank the pretty Oleander as the “most dangerous”.

This pink flowering plant may be nice to look at, but it is “extremely toxic” to both humans and pets.

According to B Well CBD’s plant experts: “It might look delicate and innocent, but even ingesting honey made from its nectar can produce symptoms.

“Death in adults has been reported from eating one small leaf.

“Children are more susceptible and should be kept away.”

Symptoms in humans include an abnormality of the heart’s rhythm known as arrhythmia, dizziness, and tremors.

Symptoms in pets include arrhythmia, vomiting, and cold extremities.

Luckily, this plant is not dangerous unless you manage to ingest it.

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2 Caladium

Caladium houseplants often have large colourful leaves and are part of the Araceae family.

This plant is also known as Elephant’s Ear or Angel’s Wing.

However, parts of the plant are considered to be toxic to humans and animals if chewed or swallowed.

Symptoms in humans after ingestion include painful burning and swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips and throat.

In worst-case situations, difficulty in breathing or swallowing can lead to blocked airways causing death.

In cats and dogs, symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, staggering, head shaking, drooling, and difficulty breathing.

3 Pothos

Pothos is also often referred to as Devil’s Ivy and is a green leafy plant.

According to the plant experts: “Although this plant can be poisonous, it is known for being one of the best plants for removing impurities from the air.

“Luckily, it is only mildly harmful in small quantities, but can be serious in larger quantities.”

Symptoms in humans after ingesting include burning of the mouth, skin irritation, swelling of lips, tongue, and throat, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

In pets, such as cats and dogs, symptoms can include drooling, choking, swelling of the mouth and tongue, difficulty breathing, and stomach upset.

In a worst-case scenario, ingestion of the Pothos plant can lead to renal failure and/or death.

4 Peace Lily

The beautiful Peace Lily is a popular houseplant, but is also listed as one of the “most dangerous”.

Though it is named “lily” it is not a “true lily” due to the fact it isn’t part of the Liliaceae family.

However, it can still be poisonous.

B Well CBD said: “Whilst it does make a great air purifier and is ideal for apartments or rooms with little light.

“They can cause death if ingested by either humans or animals.”

Symptoms in humans can include burning and swelling of lips, mouth, and tongue, difficulty speaking or swallowing, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea.

In cats and dogs, symptoms that have been recorded include a burning mouth, excessive salivation, diarrhoea, dehydration, lack of appetite, and vomiting. Left untreated, peace-lily poisoning could lead to renal failure.

However, the experts note that there is “some conflict” in reports.

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5 Philodendron

Though Philodendrons are rather easy plants to grow and maintain, they contain calcium oxalate crystals which are toxic to humans and animals.

In humans, ingesting a small amount will only have mild side effects including a dermatitis reaction in both adults and children.

However, according to the plant experts, in rare cases, it has caused fatalities in children.

Philodendron has a much more serious effect on pets, with reports of spasms, seizures, pain, and swelling. It seems to be more toxic to cats.

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