A warning graphic with the words “Dangerous Plant” continues to circulate online. Is there any truth to the rumor that this common houseplant is so deadly that it can kill an adult within 15 minutes?
There is some truth to the story, though as with many things on the internet, it is somewhat exaggerated.
The story (see below) has been circulating for several years and tells us that the Dumb Cane, or Dieffenbachia, can kill a child in a minute, an adult in 15 minutes, and can cause blindness contact is made with the eyes.
Mild Reaction to Most People
Though it is possible for rare cases to cause severe symptoms, it is generally thought to be mildly toxic. The Wikipedia page on the plant cites the Journal of Toxicology from 1991, by stating, “Mastication and ingestion generally result in only mild symptoms.” We could find no medical literature that states that eye exposure to this plant causes blindness.
Danger to Pets
Many versions of the warning circulating on the internet focus on children and adults, but it should be pointed out that the Dumb Cane is considered toxic to pets. The ASPCA regards this as toxic to dogs and cats and lists possible symptoms as: “Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth , tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.”
What’s in a name?
The name “Dumb Cane” refers to the symptoms that sometimes occur when a person eats the leaves of this plant, which includes speechlessness.
The story in circulation
MUST READ GUYS,,,SOME SORT OF AWARENESS,……….
This plant is very common at our houses, gardens, parks and offices (popular as indoor & outdoor plant). The plant (Dumb Cane or Dieffenbachia) is now proven to be DANGEROUS, so, please take care!
I know that the leaf of this plant causes itching if its sap (milk) touches your skin. But there are more dangerous facts! Read the details below.
May be useful for you. You better believe it.
PLEASE READ BELOW:
One of my friends almost lost her daughter who put a piece of the leaf of this plant in her mouth and her tongue swelled to the point of suffocation. This is one plant but there are others with the same characteristics of coloring. Those are also poisonous and we should get rid of them. Please watch out for our children. As we all leave our children at home in the hands of a nanny, we should give them a safe environment where they can play .
Name: Dumb Cane or Dieffenbachia
“This plant that we have in our homes and offices is extremely dangerous!
This plant is common in Rwanda. It is a DEADLY POISON, most specially for the children. It can kill a kid in less than a minute and an adult in 15 minutes. It should be uprooted from gardens and taken out of offices. If touched, one should never touch his/her eyes; it can cause partial or permanent blindness. PLEASE ALERT YOUR FRIENDS
This plant can be harmful if eaten, though in most cases the symptoms would not approach those dire warnings circulated online. If handling or pruning a Dumb Cane, it’s best to wear gloves in order to avoid getting the sap on the skin or in the eyes. It is also a good idea to keep them out of reach of children and pets.
That said, this is a fairly common plant and probably shouldn’t be tossed out just because eating it is toxic, unless there are children or pets present. There are many items in the home that shouldn’t be eaten, and this is one of them! Most adults have never eaten a houseplant. Instead of tossing out the plant, wear gloves when you care for it and you should have no problems.
Have you ever had a reaction from a Dumb Cane? If so, let us know in the comments below.
Filed under: Hoaxes & Rumors