- 17 Plants that Will Kill Your Cat and Why Poinsettias Won’t
- Pet safe garden – A to Z of safe plants
- A to Z of safe plants for your garden
- General symptoms of poisoning from plants or flowers
- Are Fuchsias Edible: Learn About Eating Fuchsia Berries And Flowers
- Can You Eat Fuchsia?
- Harvesting Berries and Flowers
- Plants that may poison your pets
- Eat your fuchsias
17 Plants that Will Kill Your Cat and Why Poinsettias Won’t
It’s possible that poinsettias get the bummest rap in all of the plant world. They?ve got a bad-girl reputation as deadly beauties, but is the ubiquitous holiday plant actually toxic? About 70 percent of the population will answer yes, and although every year there is a bumper crop of stories explaining otherwise?the myth persists. In reality, ingestion of excessive poinsettia may produce only mild to moderate gastrointestinal tract irritation, which can include drooling and vomiting?kind of like drinking too much brandy-spiked eggnog? The poor poinsettia, so misunderstood?
It all started back in the early part of the 20th century when the two-year-old child of a U.S. Army officer was alleged to have died from consuming a poinsettia leaf. As these things have a habit of doing, the toxic potential of poinsettia has become highly exaggerated?and many a cat-keeper now treat poinsettias as persona non grata (or, as the case may be, poinsettia non grata) in their households. Keeping this plant out of the reach of your pet to avoid stomach upset is still a good idea, but according to the ASPCA, you need not banish the poinsettia from your home for fear of a fatal exposure.
So poinsettias, consider yourself absolved. As for the other holiday fave? Mistletoe has the potential to cause cardiovascular problems (and not just from forced smooches)?however, mistletoe ingestion usually only causes gastrointestinal upset. But there are other common household plants that have been reported as having some serious systemic effects?and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract on animals.
The ASPCA’s list of 17 top toxic plants to steer your kitty away from.
Lilies. Members of the Lilium family are considered to be highly toxic to cats. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, can cause kidney failure in cats. While the poisonous component has not yet been identified, it is clear that with even ingestions of very small amounts of the plant, severe kidney damage could result.
Marijuana. Ingestion of Cannabis sativa by companion animals can result in depression of the central nervous system and incoordination, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, and even seizures and coma?even if they don?t inhale. But cats can get all the same fun without the buzz-killing side effects from marijuana?s cuz, catnip!
Sago Palm. All parts of Cycas Revoluta are poisonous, but the seeds or “nuts” contain the largest amount of toxin. The ingestion of just one or two seeds can result in very serious effects, which include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and liver failure.
Tulip/Narcissus Bulbs. The bulb portions of Tulips and Narcissus contain toxins that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.
Azalea/Rhododendron. Members of the Rhododenron family contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system in animals. Severe azalea poisoning could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse.
Oleander. All parts of Nerium oleander are considered to be toxic, as they contain cardiac glycosides that have the potential to cause serious effects?including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death. Castor Bean. The poisonous principle in Ricinus communis is ricin, a highly toxic protein that can produce severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death. Cyclamen. Cylamen species contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant. If consumed, Cylamen can produce significant gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases. 9 more toxic plants to keep away from your cat, including chrysanthemums and ivy. Kalanchoe. This plant contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate. Yew. Contains a toxic component known as taxine, which causes central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death. Amaryllis. Common garden plants popular around the holidays, Amaryllis species contain toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia and tremors. Autumn Crocus. Ingestion of Colchicum autumnale by pets can result in oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone marrow suppression. Chrysanthemum. These popular blooms are part of the Compositae family, which contain pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset, including drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed. English Ivy. Also called branching ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, sweetheart ivy and California ivy, Hedera helix contains triterpenoid saponins that, should pets ingest, can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea. Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily). Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest. Pothos. Pothos (both Scindapsus and Epipremnum) belongs to the Araceae family. If chewed or ingested, this popular household plant can cause significant mechanical irritation and swelling of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Schefflera. Schefflera and Brassaia actinophylla contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest. What do do? Should your cat eat part of a poisonous plant, promptly bring your cat to your veterinarian. If you can, take the plant with you for ease of identification. If you think that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435. Get more holiday decorating tips from New Holiday Traditions At Care2, we believe that individual actions can collectively make a difference. Whether you start making differences in your home, your community, or across the globe, we are glad to help you on your journey. Join us today! With more than 11 million members, Care2 is the largest online community of people making a difference in healthy and green living, human rights and animal welfare. Join us today!
Pet safe garden – A to Z of safe plants
A to Z of safe plants for your garden
It’s not just plants and flowers you need to consider when planning a safe garden for your cat or dog, the following can also prove hazardous:
Acorns and Conkers are toxic if eaten. They may also cause obstruction and blockages in the digestive system. Be especially vigilant with puppies who will chew acorns and conkers given the chance.
Algae – Toxic freshwater algae (usually blue-green in colour, but sometimes colourless) has been known to poison animals. Dogs and cats should be discouraged from drinking from and swimming in ponds, especially in late summer when algae growth is most prevalent.
Bee and Wasp stings can be especially problematic if they sting inside the mouth. Always clear windfall fruit as dogs may be interested in insects and this could prove too much of a temptation.
Cocoa Mulch – Made of cocoa bean shell – a by-product of the chocolate industry – and like chocolate can be harmful if eaten by dogs. Consider using a less-toxic alternative, such as shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark.
Compost heap – A favourite to dig into, but be cautious of sharp sticks or potentially poisonous additions. Coffee, moldy food and certain types of fruit and vegetables such as grapes, raisins, avocado, onions, garlic or chives are toxic to cats and dogs.
Fertiliser and Insecticides – If consumed, fertiliser can give your cat or dog a stomach upset and may result in life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction. Always store pesticides in inaccessible areas — and read the manufacturer’s label carefully for proper usage and storage.
Garden tools – Unattended garden tools may seem like no big deal, but rakes, tillers, hoes and trowels can be hazardous to pets and cause trauma to paws, noses or other parts of a curious pet’s body.
General symptoms of poisoning from plants or flowers
Oral or skin irritation
Upset stomach / Vomiting / Diarrhoea
Excitability or lethargy
Dizziness / Loss of Balance
Remember to contact your vet immediately if you think your pet has eaten any toxic plants, flowers, or in fact any toxic items or substances.
Take along samples of the plant to the vet – or preferably any identification label, tag or pot information you may still have for the plant that has been eaten.
Are Fuchsias Edible: Learn About Eating Fuchsia Berries And Flowers
You may have a curious toddler or a mouthy pooch who finds grazing in the garden a delight. However, consider that many of the plants we have in our landscapes are not edible and may, in fact, be poisonous. Just because a fuchsia produces berry-like fruits, for instance, may not mean they can be eaten. Are fuchsias edible? We’ll go into that and a bunch of other fun facts about the fuchsia plant in this article.
Can You Eat Fuchsia?
The French monk and botanist Charles Plumier discovered fuchsia on the island of Hispaniola in the late 1600s. It was apparent to the natives at the time that there was no fuchsia plant toxicity, and Plumier wrote a great deal on the flavor and medicinal uses of the plant. There are now over 100 species of this versatile flowering plant, which are spread in the warmer Americas and into New Zealand.
There are countless varieties of fruits, both wild and cultivated. Many of these are edible and actually delicious while others are not tasty but effective medicine or high in nutrients. Ominously still, others are actually toxic or poisonous and serious illness or death can result after
ingestion. Are fuchsias edible? This is a valid question, as the deeply purple berries appear to be some sort of juicy, tangy sweet delicacy.
In fact, all fuchsia fruit are edible and you can eat the flowers too. By all accounts, the berries are lightly tart with lemony freshness. Some foodies compare them to stoneless cherries. Either way, they are not toxic and can be eaten in a variety of ways.
Harvesting Berries and Flowers
Since we have established there is no fuchsia plant toxicity, it is safe to gather some berries and/or flowers and try them out. Berries often arrive towards the end of the summer, usually as the plant is still flowering. The effect is decorative and unique. Because plants keep flowering during fruiting, you can harvest berries at any time.
Berries should be plump, smooth and fairly easy to twist off the stem. Alternatively, you can use scissors to snip them off. Wash the fruit and prepare it as you would like. The flowers are also edible. Harvest when fully open. Use the petals as a salad, garnish or frozen inside ice cubes for a pretty party drink.
Eating fuchsia berries and flowers adds Vitamin C and many other nutrients to the table while brightening up all your dishes.
One of the more popular things to do with the berries is to make it into a spreadable jam. The method is the same as most other berry jams. You can also bake them into scones, muffins, cakes and more. Top them over pancakes or ice cream or add them to a fruit salad. Their mildly tart-sweet flavor brightens up meat dishes as a chutney. They also are great for just eating out of hand as a gardener’s handy snack.
Take care of your plants and they will take care of you. Make sure your fuchsia plant is in part sun where the roots can stay cool. Feed with a high potash fertilizer in spring to increase flowers and, of course, fruits.
If your plant is hardy, prune it lightly in late winter. If you have the tender variety, try bringing it indoors to overwinter. With a little effort, many of the varieties of fuchsia can produce fruit for your home for years.
Plants that may poison your pets
Before Molly Tuttle’s dog Sydney suddenly became ill, Tuttle had never even heard of Sago palm. Only after her vet asked about the plant, trying to determine the cause of Sydney’s vomiting and lethargy, did Tuttle realize that her Dallas backyard had Sago palms planted by the previous owner. Hours before Sydney grew ill, Tuttle had seen her dog chewing on a Sago palm root and taken it away from her. Despite intensive medical care, Sydney died two weeks later.
Sydney is just one of countless pets poisoned by ingesting Sago palm, a popular decorative plant commonly sold without any warnings about its toxicity. And Sago palm is among more than 700 plants that have been identified as poisonous (meaning they produce physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals).
Poisonous plants may cause reactions ranging from mild nausea to death. Certain animal species may have a peculiar vulnerability to a potentially poisonous plant. Cats, for instance, are poisoned by any part of a lily.
Our list (PDF) of some of the potentially poisonous plants provides a guide to those plants that have been generally identified as being capable of producing a toxic reaction. We recommend that you print it and keep it in an accessible place.
Learn more about plants that could be dangerous to pets at the ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants page.
Eat your fuchsias
You’ve heard it about nasturtiums. Maybe even gotten used to finding marigolds in your salad. But fuchsias? No way!
Rest assured. All parts of the fuchsia are completely edible, from the berries to the flowers. Even the leaves, for that matter, if you’re into that kind of fodder. This fact is often a complete surprise to most gardeners and growers, even ones that have had fuchsias on the porch or in their beds for decades.
Moreover, it should put the minds of parents and grandparents at ease, when they discover that Junior hasn’t just been impishly popping the flower buds, but merrily popping the berries into his mouth with reckless abandon as well. And dog owners can relax. Fido has been known to nip a few low-hanging fruit from the fuchsia bush a time or two. They’re also non-toxic to canine connoisseurs.
Fuchsias are perfectly safe to eat. Plus, they’re tasty!
All species and cultivars of the genus Fuchsia produce edible berries The fruit is technically a epigynous berry, similar in its botanical structure to apples or cucumbers, and contains varying numbers of tiny seeds depending on the species. The berries of several natural species are especially relished.
At the top of any list should be Fuchsia boliviana, which is regularly eaten by native peoples in the Andes. In fact, the native range of the species is a little hazy because its berries, at the very least, were early on carried away from their homelands in northern Argentina, Bolivia and southern Peru and into the northern Andes in Columbia and Venezuela. Probably Central American as well.
F. boliviana is still encountered along old Inca trails and roads, or around habitations, and still sometimes sold in traditional markets in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Native names for this species in the Quechua language of the Inca include quwapaq ñukch’u, chimpu-chimpu and uchu-uchu. In Andean Spanish, they’re referred to as corazón corazón (heart-heart) and are believed to be good for what ails both the heart and spirit.
On the other side of the Pacific, Fuchsia excorticata berries are traditionally eaten by the Maori of New Zealand who call their huge native tree fuchsia, kotukutuku, and the berries themselves, konini. There is an old Maori saying, “I whea koe I te tahuritanga o te rau o te kotukutuku?”, or, “Where were you when the leaves of the fuchsia tree began to grow in the spring?”. Kotukutuku is one of Aotearoa’s few deciduous trees and drops its leaves in the fall. This saying is a reproach to those who show up at harvest time to reap help the bounty but were nowhere to be found when real garden work needed to be done at planting time in the spring.
Fuchsia magellanica, called chilco in Chile and Argentina by the Mapuche, was consumed throughout its natural range by the Mapuche, Puelche, Tehuelche and other native peoples. Still is. I remember with delight an encounter with an elegant, old gentleman in San Carlos de Bariloche while hunting fuchsias is the Patagonian Lake District of Argentina.
Like the roses of England or the thistles of Scotland, F. magellanica seems to have become somewhat of the floral emblem of this beautiful winter-and-summer resort on Nahuel Huapi Lake, a large glacial lake surrounded by the snow-crested Andes. The town’s also come to be known for its Swiss alpine-ish architecture and its chocolate, sold in shops lining its main street, the Calle Mitre. Function follows form, I suppose. Still, F. magellanica abounds.
I was standing on the lawn of the local Nahuel Huapi headquarters of the national park service, the Dirección General de Parques Nacionales. Among the endemic plants on display in the garden around the building was a beautiful ten-foot high hedge of F. magellanica. The sky was brilliantly azure blue that day. The hedge an achingly intense blaze of scarlet and purple. There was a gentle breeze off the lake. I was trying to get a few shots of the mesmerizing play of flowers against the sky and was apparently quite lost in the task. Finished, I looked up and noticed that I was being watched as well.
An elderly gentleman, who had obviously been ambling by as I was intent on the hedge, had stopped. I nodded and smiled. When he seemed sure he wasn’t disturbing me, he motioned me over and pointed into the hedge with the end of the silver-topped walking stick on which he’d been leaning. We chatted. Patiently, and somewhat proudly I took it, he shared that this beautiful plant was the chilco and the berries were eaten in the countryside. As if to make sure that his Spanish was getting through to mine, he reached inside, hesitated and plucked an only half-ripe berry. He did caution that they were best and sweetest when dark and fully ripe. He brought it to his lips anyway, popped it inside with a mimed flourish, and ate it with an internationally understandable sound of epircurean satisfaction, “Mmmm… Bueno”. I did manage to sample quite a few chilco berries while ambling though Patagonia myself, thanks to Don Carlos’ kind direction.
The elongated berries of Fuchsia splendens, looking a bit like little ornamental hanging cucumbers, are also considered tasty by those in the know. Other species notable for their flavor and productivity include F. paniculata, corymbiflora, procumbens and venusta. The delights of various species go on.
The taste of fuchsia berries can be variously described as lemony or peppery and has a pleasing sub-acid quality. The fruit on garden cultivars, however, can range considerably in their degree of delectability. Some are absolutely splendid; other are simply bland. It’s important to remember that most all hybrids were bred for the looks of their ornamental flowers rather than for the taste of the berries.
This is the reason most people are surprised to learn that they’re perfectly edible. “But it’s a pretty garden flower not a vegetable!” Other common inhabitants of the ornamental garden suffer from this preconception, too. You might have even been surprised that marigolds are edible.
If the berries of one kind of fuchsia don’t measure up, move on to the next. Fuchsia berries are said to be high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. They’re enjoyed fresh or used in recipes such as jellies, jams and puddings.
A common problem with cooking with fuchsia berries is simply collecting enough of them from the typical garden to be useful. Unless you have a hedgerow or somehow providentially manage a fuchsia plantation, the crop can be slow in adding up. Not to fear, you can easily freeze the berries until you’ve collected enough for a pie. That’s if they make it part your mouth in the first place.
Another trade-off for harvesting fuchsia berries, since they’re primarily grown for their ornamental flowers, is that the young berries on potted plants should normally be removed as soon as the blossoms wither away. This is usually done to encourage the formation of more flowers. Certainly not all growers treat their plants this way nor do all cultivars need to be kept berry-free to perform well either. If you have large shrubs bedded out, or too many plants to bother spending the time, this isn’t an issue since it’s not really practical. Many fuchsias will just keep on blooming, freed of their berries or not. It should also be mentioned to make sure your plants, especially those freshly acquired from large commercial sources, haven’t been treated with any chemicals or systemics that might make them unsafe for eating!
Fuchsia flowers are edible, as well, and can used as a colorful floral garnish in salads and elsewhere. A recent scientific study have shown that the fuchsia’s flowers are high in anthocyanins, the group of compounds that give these flowers their distinctive fuchsia red, blue and purple colors. Anthocyanins are strong antioxidants and further study needs to be undertaken to determine the precise health benefits eating the flowers might have (See ➤ Scientific Bibliography Rop et al. 2012).
If you want to try cooking with fuchsia berries, here are a couple of common recipes. The measurements are English but the approximate equivalents have been noted if you’re metric. In the meantime, fresh or cooked, salad or pudding, enjoy!
(Illustrations: 1. Berries ripening on an ornamental garden hybrid; 2 and 3. Berries of F. boliviana var. alba are pale green when ripe; 4, 5 and 6, F. magellanica captured at San Carlos de Bariloche in the Patagonian Lake District of Argentina; 7. F. splendens; 8 and 12. F. paniculata berries in various stages of ripeness; 9. Fuchsia procumbens; 10. F. magellanica ready for harvest; 11. F. regia.)
Fuchsia Berry Jelly
1 cup fuchsia flowers
1 cup ripe, washed fuchsia berries
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups of water (or apple juice or apple cider)
1 apple, sweet, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons of unflavored gelatin
Simmer the flowers, berries, sugar, lemon juice, water, and apple for 10 minutes.
Let the mixture cool a bit, then strain it.
Add the gelatin and allow it to thicken in the refrigerator.
Fuchsia Berry Jam
1 lb. sugar
2 tablespoons water (or apple pectin, apple juice or cider)
juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ lb. of ripe fuchsia berries, washed
Combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a pan and cook carefully over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
Set the mix aside and allow it to cool completely.
Add the berries gently, folding them into the mixture so as not to break them up too much.
Bring the mixture slowly to a boil.
Boil until the mixture will set when it’s tested on a plate.
Seal in heated jars.
Allow to cool completely before eating.
urban fuchsia + blog tags — fruit | produce
I am such a sucker for a glossy Instagram foodie picture, I really am. Whether it’s marvelling at avocados sliced into intricate, swirling fans (how does anyone have the patience?) or the “unicorn” smoothies in churned up shades of lurid pink and blue (an instant nostalgia flashback to 1980s cartoons), I find each and every bonkers food fad endlessly fascinating. However, as a botanist, one recent #instatrend is causing me concern: the growing obsession with “edible” flowers that aren’t actually edible.
Once it was just pansies atop cupcakes and rose petals floating in cocktails that popped up as I scrolled though my feed. Now it increasingly seems that in the pursuit of the perfect picture a generation of bright-eyed foodies have been ransacking the flower borders for anything pretty to top their smoothie bowls – even if it is quite toxic.
Beautiful borage: good enough to eat. Photograph: Getty Images
A five-minute search of the words “edible flowers” drew up, for starters, a cake strewn with pretty narcissi – whose toxic crystals can cause incredibly painful swelling and sores. Such an irritant are these flowers that gatherers of them can come out in severe rashes on their arms and hands. Just imagine the consequences on your guts!
This was quickly beaten by a smoothie topped with catharanthus, containing acutely toxic alkaloids used in chemotherapy. Then there was a delicious dessert adorned with a pile of rhododendrons, the consumption of which would be life-threateningly toxic. But these were all outshone by chocolate pudding laced with lantana flowers, a frequent cause of death from liver failure in grazing livestock in warmer climes.
This handful of examples was just the tip of the iceberg. Many appeared on blogs that eulogise the evils of sugar, gluten and – gasp – dairy. I can’t help but think, not just as a botanist, but as someone with a keen interest in impressionable kids not getting sick, that Insta-influencers need to be far more responsible with their recommendations. One can only hope they never eat their own creations.
If, like me, you love the glossy food images online and long to capture some of their colourful quirkiness, here is a list to help you out when telling tasty flowers from the toxic.
The blooms in this list are perfectly edible, and the plants are easy to track down as well as super simple to grow. Just be sure you have your ID correct and avoid applying gardening chemicals not intended for edible plants: amaranth; borage; calendula; daisies (bellis); elderflower (sambucus); fuchsias; gardenia; hemerocallis; lavender; mint; nasturtium; primulas; roses; sweet William (dianthus); tagetes, and violets (viola).
Email James at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Botanygeek