It’s not something that you hear about on the news all that often, but your houseplants might be a serious source of injury and illness for you, your family and your pets. Though most of us aren’t going around trying to ingest the flowers and plants growing in our gardens and homes, a curious cat or a child that leaves your sight for a minute can seriously injure themselves by touching, picking or eating a plant. While most of these plants won’t lead to death, knowing the potential dangers that might be lurking in your home is a great preventative step to avoiding a trip to the hospital or vet.
These beautiful flowers with a very long name can be a great addition to your home’s garden or a vase at a dinner table. They’re also a great way to keep vermin such as rabbits from digging in your garden, and have insecticidal properties too. However, chrysanthemums can be potentially dangerous to children and curious pets wandering around in search of something to play with or munch on. The flowers, which are toxic, can cause irritation to the skin and lead to condition known as dermatitis if left untreated. Though not terribly injuring, chrysanthemums can lead to a need for allergy medication and cause severe inflammation of the skin.
Hydrangea are incredibly alluring to children. To the young boy or girl with an active imagination, the puffy, colorful, bush-like plant can look appear quite similar to cotton candy. Hydrangeas, however, are anything but edible. Those who ingest the flowers of the plant can suffer from itching, sweating, weakness and vomiting. In severe cases, the plant can lead to even more severe conditions such as coma and blood circulation problems, and someone who ingests the plant may not experience the symptoms for several hours causing confusion to a less-than-knowledgeable parent. For pets, ingestion can lead to an unfortunate death. Though there is an antidote, preventing any negative side effects in the first place is obviously much easier and less nerve wracking for a concerned parent.
Though we usually associate this plant with its healing properties, and thus think it’s relatively safe to keep in our home, Aloe Vera can be a hidden danger in your home. Though the clear gel inside can be beneficial and soothing to burns are painful injuries, touching or ingestion of the outer skin and inner layers of the plant can lead to irritation of both the skin and intestines if swallowed. Thus, be careful when thinking this sometimes-beneficial plant can’t cause any harm to your child or pet!
That’s right, the plant we typically associate with excuses for embarrassing kisses around the Christmas and Winter holidays can pose a significant harm to humans. Though usually hung far out of the reach of pets and small children, the berries of mistletoe are actually poisonous when ingested. Again, though most of the time the plant is far from prying and curious pets or children who might want to eat the berries, parents and pet owners should be careful when decorating their home not to leave the plant unattended and in reach of those vulnerable to its allure.
The Narcissus family of plants, which iare more commonly known to most as daffodils, are some of the most dangerous plants you might have in your garden or vase at home. Though they have a beautiful, cheery appearance and are often seen as the early signs of spring, their innocent appearance belies more serious potential dangers. Ingestion of their bulbs can cause vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, and even tremors. In some cases, ingestion of the bulbs can lead to a fatality if untreated. While a great addition to your garden, ensuring the safety of your children and pets is crucial when choosing to plant daffodils in your yard.
Meredith “Shelly” Troberman is a co-founder and lawyer at Carroll Troberman Law, an Austin, Texas based law office that represents clients in cases of criminal defense, injury and DWI cases. Though she’s never gone to court against a hydrangea, Troberman is serious about preventing all injury — big or small, and cares for the safety and well-being of everyone whether you’ve been in an accident with a drunk driver, or simply have a child who loves to explore and try the taste of the leaves of a houseplant.