“My daughter almost died when she put the leaf of the plant in her mouth! Her tongue started to swell and she began to choke! Here is a picture of the plant, but keep in mind that there are many similar plants like this one with pretty much the same characteristics and that are also very toxic. “
This living room plant almost killed my daughter … It is a plant that is found in many offices and homes, but in fact, it is dangerous! It’s called a Dieffenbachia. Its juice, and all its parts are toxic (because they contain calcium oxalate).
This salon plant is toxic be careful.
A message greatly exaggerated. According to the anti-poison center of Lille, dieffenbachia is indeed a toxic plant, especially because of its latex. The contact of the sap with the tongue or the mucous membranes “can give an edema (swelling) of the tongue and the mucous membranes, from where difficulties of swallowing and sensations of burning which prevent from swallowing”, specifies the center.
But “these disorders remain minimal and no case of serious intoxication in humans has been reported.”
Habitat and frequency
Dieffenbachia are native to tropical America and India.
In these countries, they can reach 2 to 2.50m.
In France, they are found in indoor ornamental plants. These plants are very common given the variety of their foliage, their ease of cultivation and their resistance.
General characteristics of the plant, leaves and flowers
Dieffenbachia are perennial herbaceous plants. The stems are thick, fluted, multiple.
Leaves are whole, ovate, pointed, alternate, with engulfing petiole. They are decorative by their motives (marbled, striped or spotted) yellow or white.
The flowers are grouped in spike and surrounded by a straight spathe, green, erect.
Form and ripening of the fruit
The fruits are sub-globular from 5 to 7 mm, red, grouped.
This salon plant is very toxic and very irritating:
The dieffenbachia are at the origin of many calls to poison control centers. Young children are mostly involved.
In case of ingestion, there is an immediate pain with edema of the tongue and oral mucosa. Hypersalivation is accompanied by swallowing disorders and choking. An aphonia can last several days but no sequela is described after 14 days.
Contact with the eyes produces intense and immediate pain, photophobia, conjunctival haemorrhage with sometimes a decrease in visual acuity for several days. Keratitis can develop, complicating complete healing.