The universal edibility test is a last resort, but it could save your life.
Eating even a tiny bite of a toxic plant can cause extreme gastrointestinal problems, or even death. Survival experts devised this test to determine a plant’s edibility. When in doubt, follow these steps before chowing down. It’s a slow process, but necessary. (Warning: This is for emergencies only. Plan A should always be to positively identify everything you eat.)
- Separate the plant into its various parts—roots, stems, leaves, buds, and flowers. Focus on only one piece of the plant at a time.
- Smell it. A strong, unpleasant odor is a bad sign.
- Test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant on your inner elbow or wrist for a few minutes. If your skin burns, itches, feels numb, or breaks out in a rash, don’t eat the plant.
- If the plant passes the skin test, prepare a small portion the way you plan to eat it (boiling is always a good bet).
- Before taking a bite, touch the plant to your lips to test for burning or itching. If there’s no reaction after 15 minutes, take a small bite, chew it, and hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes. If the plant tastes very bitter or soapy, spit it out.
- If there’s no reaction in your mouth, swallow the bite and wait several hours. If there’s no ill effect, you can assume this part of the plant is edible. Repeat the test for other parts of the plant; some plants have both edible and inedible parts.
Become a survival expert: Sign up for AIM Adventure U’s Outdoor Survival 101 course today.
- Keeping Your Pet Safe: Identify Poison Plants In Your House
- Identify Poison Plants
- Common Poison Houseplants
- Common Non-Toxic Houseplants
- Survival 101: The Right Way To Determine If A Plant Is Edible
- Department of Animal Science – Plants Poisonous to Livestock
- Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions
- Poisonous Foods and Plants Found in Hawaii
- 13 Purifying Houseplants That Are Safe for Cats and Dogs
- Check out this easy, go-to guide for introducing safe indoor plants that won’t pose a risk to your four-legged friends!
- 1. Money Tree
- 2. Palms
- 3. Spider Plant
- 4. Boston Fern
- 5. Tradescantia Zebrina
- 6. Wax Plant
- 7. African Violet
- 8. Moth Orchids
- 9. Cast Iron Plant
- 10. Bamboo
- 11. Prayer Plant
- 12. Christmas Cactus
- 13. Swedish Ivy
- Here are 7 indoor plants that are safe for pets.
- 10 Indoor Plants That Won’t Harm Your Pets
- Haworthia Succulents
- Cast Iron Plant
- Burros Tail Succulent
- Boston Fern
- Chinese Money Plant
- Spider Plant
- Prayer Plant
- Air Plants
- What is the universal edibility test?
- How to identify poisonous plants
- The Universal Edibility Test
- Why is your baby at risk?
- Common toxic houseplants
- 8 Poisonous Indoor House Plants Dangerous to Kids and Pets
Keeping Your Pet Safe: Identify Poison Plants In Your House
Toxic plants for pets can cause heartbreak. We all love our pets and when you are a plant lover as well, you want to make sure that your houseplants and your pets can live together happily. Knowing what toxic houseplants you have in your home or being able to identify poison plants is important to keeping your pet happy and healthy.
Identify Poison Plants
With so many houseplants available today, it’s difficult to know which are poisonous houseplants. While there is no tell-tale sign that a plant is poisonous, there are a few standard signs that can help you identify potentially toxic plants. These signs for possible poison plants are:
- Milky sap
- Naturally shiny leaves
- Plants that have yellow or white berries
- Umbrella shaped plants
While following this list will not eliminate all toxic houseplants, it will help steer you clear of a great many of them.
Common Poison Houseplants
Below are some of the most common houseplants that are toxic:
- Balsam fir
- Calla lily
- Century plant
- Coffee tree (Polyscias guilfoylei)
- Dumb cane
- Elephant’s ear
- Ficus or weeping fig
- Ivy (all kinds)
- Rubber plant
- Snake plant
- String of beads
- Umbrella plant
Common Non-Toxic Houseplants
There are also many non-toxic plants for pets. These include:
- African Violet
- Boston fern
- Cast iron plant
- China Doll
- Christmas Cactus
- Pink polka-dot plant
- Prayer Plant
- Spider plant
- Ti plant
If you are a pet owner, you know that keeping your house free of poison houseplants is important. Learning to identify poison plants and buying only non-toxic houseplants will keep your pet happy and healthy.
Survival 101: The Right Way To Determine If A Plant Is Edible
Image source: .com
When those in the survivalist and prepping community talk about living off the land, the focus tends to be on hunting, with maybe a little fishing thrown in for variety. Being a carnivore myself, I happen to like that idea, but in reality, it’s not a complete picture. Our ancestors, if you go back far enough, lived as hunter/gatherers. We tend to focus on the hunting part, without talking much about the gathering part.
Hunting is all about animal protein, while gathering is about plants. Whether it’s nuts, berries, fruit, leaves or roots, plant life helps to sustain us as much as animal protein does. In fact, those who claim expertise in nutrition tell us that it should be the larger part of our diet.
Yet few of us know enough to gather plants for food, should we find ourselves in a survival situation. That’s dangerous, as it denies us a major source of the nutrition that we’ll so desperately need. Not only that, but last I checked, a plant can’t run away from us when we’re hunting it. So, gathering should actually be an easier way to find food.
For this reason, a good guide to edible plants should be a part of everyone’s bug-out bag and survival kit. If you can find a pocket version, that would be even better. Just make sure that it deals with the plants in the region where you live and not something that’s on the other side of the country.
But what if you don’t have that guide? Or what if you’re having trouble finding the plants listed in it? Can you still eat the plants you find, or is that something to be avoided at all costs?
Get The Essential Secrets Of The Top Survivalists In The World!
Image source: .com
The answer to these questions is yes … and no. For every plant that we eat, somebody, sometime, had to be the first to try it. They either found it to be tasty and nutritious, or they found it to be poisonous. In the latter case, hopefully all that happened was an upset stomach. But I’m sure that in some cases, people died with their bellies full of the wrong plants, simply because they didn’t know that they were poisonous.
There is an accepted process for determining if plants are safe to eat. Called the “universal edibility test,” this process reduces the risk of trying new plants as food. If you are caught in a situation where it could be necessary to eat plants that you are unaccustomed to, knowing this process could save your life.
What to Avoid
When we’re talking about edible plants, we need to understand that any plant is composed of various parts. Some might be edible, while others are not. There are even cases where one part of the plant is commonly eaten, while another is deadly poisonous.
These plant parts are:
- Fruit and seeds (including nuts and berries).
When you’re testing any plant’s edibility, only check one part of the plant at a time. Don’t assume that just because one part is edible, others are, as well. You’ll have to perform the same test for each part, before you can declare it edible.
But to start, let’s look at what sorts of plants to avoid. Plants that have the following characteristics are probably not safe to eat, no matter how much they look like they’d be an ideal addition to your salad:
Image source: .com
Not Safe to Eat
- Mushrooms that you are not familiar with.
- Any plants growing near contaminated water.
- Plants with shiny leaves.
- Plants with groups of three leaves.
- Plants that create a stinging sensation when touched.
- Plants with a foul odor.
- Any plants that have a bitter or soapy flavor.
- Plants that have a milky sap in the stems.
- Beans, bulbs or seeds which grow inside pods. While some of these are safe to eat, proportionally there’s a greater chance of danger from them.
- Any grains with pink, purplish or black spurs.
Doing the Universal Edibility Test
Once you’ve eliminated the plants listed above, it’s time to talk about what you can try to eat. Pick plants that are in abundance to run this test. If you’re going to put yourself through the trouble to do it, and take the risk associated with the test, you might as well get the most bang for your buck. Testing a plant that is in abundance will provide you with more potential food to eat.
If you have multiple members in your group, only one should try a particular plant or plant part. Different people can try different plants or plant parts, but there’s nothing to be gained by having two or three people run the same test, but there could be much to be lost.
Avoid waiting until you are starving to run your test. Properly run, the test takes a few days. If you wait, you’ll be tempted to cut corners, increasing your risk. You also want to fast for eight hours before starting the test, drinking only water. This will ensure that you are getting the results of the plant you are testing, not any other food. Likewise, during the test, don’t eat or drink anything but water.
Get Backup Electrical Power In A Convenient, Portable Briefcase!
For the test itself, do the following steps in order:
Prepare the plant or plant part in the manner you expect to eat it. Cooking can eliminate chemical compounds and pathogens which otherwise would be dangerous to eat.
- Cool a portion and touch the cooked, but cooled portion briefly, checking for any burning sensation. Wait a few minutes to see if the area that had been in contact with the plant becomes red or gets a rash.
- Hold a small amount of the cooked, cooled plant part to the skin, allowing it to sit there for 15 minutes. Once again, look for burning, redness, itching, rash or blistering.
- Touch a small amount of the plant to the outer part of your lip, checking for any burning or itching. Wait 15 minutes for any reaction.
- Take a small portion (about ½ tsp.) and hold it on the tongue, without chewing, for 15 minutes; then spit it out. Once again, check for any symptoms, such as burning or itching.
- Chew a bite of the plant thoroughly for 15 minutes, without swallowing.
- If, at the end of 15 minutes, there are no symptoms from contact with the plant, swallow it. Wait eight hours for any reaction. The main symptoms you are looking for in this time are abdominal pain and/or vomiting. If either occurs, drink a lot of purified water.
- If there are no ill effects from the bite of food after eight hours, eat a small portion, about ¼ cup and wait another eight hours. If no negative symptoms occur, you can declare the plant safe to eat.
While this process may seem tedious, it is safe. There is no reason to take any unnecessary risk in any survival situation. Using this process reduces risk. Even if a plant is poisonous, by following these steps, there is a good chance that the person who is testing the plant will survive with nothing more than a stomach ache.
What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:
Department of Animal Science – Plants Poisonous to Livestock
Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions
BRIEF: Is Plumeria rubra poisonous to cats?
I have been searching for information regarding white pink plumeria trees to determine whether my 2 indoor cats will be at risk if I attempt to grow one in my home. I recently returned from a trip to Hawaii where I purchased cuttings to plant but I have not been able to find any reference as to whether they are poisonous to cats or not. The store owner was not very informed on the subject when I purchased the cuttings, so I hoped you might either be able to tell me or give me some advise on where else to look. I find it very reassuring to find such useful information as is provided on the Cornell site on this topic. I’m sure plumeria is not typically a common choice as house plants go.
The sap from Plumeria rubra is known to cause dermatitis (skin irritation) and I don’t know for sure, but since it is in the dogbane family it might well contain some cardiac glucosides (like oleander, dogbane and foxglove) that would cause problems if eaten.
Poisonous Foods and Plants Found in Hawaii
DISCLAIMER: This information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care nor should it be used as a diagnostic tool. There is no substitute for direct, hands-on examination of your pet. If you believe your dog has been poisoned, please call your veterinarian immediately even if your pet has already vomited. Many toxins need to be flushed out of their system further, and the pet may require further care to prevent further possible complications such as seizures. Also, keep the Poison Control number near your home phone or as a contact on your cell phone. The ASPCA’s Poison Control Center phone number is 888-426-4435 (A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.) They also now has a free mobile app for quick access to all their information and hotline 24 hours per day.
Common Poisonous Plants Found in Hawaii
Know which plants are kapu (off limits) to your dog.
People are often surprised to learn that there are actually hundreds of plants potentially poisonous to dogs many of which could be in your home or yard, beach or forest.
ProFlowers recently created an illustrated guide to 199 of the most common poisonous household plants and flowers. The guide identifies each plant by toxicity level, shows which parts to avoid (like seeds and leaves), and indicates which plants should be kept away from pets (dogs and/or cats). Mahalo to ProFlowers for contacting and sharing this guide with us! http://www.proflowers.com/blog/poisonous-plants
The following is a list of some plants, trees, and flowers in Hawai’i that may harm dogs (Unless noted, all parts of the plants are harmful):
- Allamanda vine
- Angel’s trumpet
- Apple seeds, in large amounts
- Apricot seeds
- Avocado leaves
- Azalea (rhododendron species) – This popular plant can harm a dog’s cardiovascular system and trigger vomiting or gastrointestinal upset.
- Bee-still tree
- Black-eyed susan (Abrus precatorius), also called rosary pea and bead vine, seeds
- Bird of paradise (Strelizia regirae), fruits and seeds
- Candlenut tree (kukui), especially sap
- Cassava (tapioca), leaves and roots
- Castor bean (Ricinus communis) also called pa’aila and kamakou, seeds (Lava Dogs: My Lab, Kimo, ate a whole bunch of Castor bean seeds as a puppy while at Puako Beach, causing him to vomit once. He was fine after that.)
- Cestrum (‘ala’aumoe), berries
- Chinaberry (‘inia), all parts, but especially fruit
- Crown flower, pua kalaunu
- Crown of thorns
- Cup of gold and silver cup
- Daffodil (narcissus), bulbs- Toxic ingredients in the bulbs cause convulsions, tremors, lethargy, weakness, and upset stomachs.
- Dumbcane (dieffenbachia)
- Elephant ear, also known as ‘ape
- Foxglove, leaves, seeds, juice and flowers
- Gloriosa lily, especially roots
- Hawaiian poppy (pua kala)
- Hens-and-chicks (lantana)
- Hydrangea, especially leaves and buds
- Ivy (many varieties), leaves and berries
- Jerusalem cherry
- Jimson weed (Datura stramonium) or thorn apple and kikania haole
- Kava, or ‘awa in Hawai’i
- Lilies such as those popular at Easter- This plant can cause heart failure, coordination problems, and vomiting.
- Nightshade, also called deadly nightshade and popolo, including apple of Sodom, Jerusalem cherry and cockroach berry
- Oleander (all varieties including be-still tree), all parts – Extremely toxic, this popular outdoor plant contains cardiac glycosides that harm the heart, decrease body temperature, cause abnormal pulse rate, and can cause death. Beware: Even people have died from eating hot dogs roasted on an oleander twig.
- Pencil plant, sap
- Periwinkle (vinca)
- Plumeria (frangipani), also called pua melia
- Philodendron (all varieties), small to monstera
- Poinsettia, leaves and flowers- Irritating to the mouth and stomach and can cause vomiting.
- Pokeberry and coral berry
- Pothos (Scindapsus aureus)
- Red sage (Lantana camara), especially leaves and unripe berries
- Rhubarb, leaves- Although the stalks are used to make pies, the leaves pack the potential to cause kidney damage.
- Slipper flower, especially sap
- Star of Bethlehem or pua hoku
- Ti (Cordyline terminalis, also known as the Hawaiian Ti, Ti Tree, Good Luck Tree, Green Ti, Red Ti and occasionally giant dracecaena)
- Taro, when raw
- Tulip, bulbs
- Umbrella plant (Cyperus alternifolius)
- Wisteria, seeds, pods
- Yew, needles, bark and seeds- Extremely toxic to dogs, this group of ornamental plants can cause seizures or cardiac failure. The plant and red berries are toxic.
Poisonous Foods and Beverages
Know which foods are kapu for your dog.
While it might be tempting to share your favorite grindz with your dog, check this list before giving a bite to your furry friend
- Alcohol – Extremely toxic, can cause vomiting and diarrhea, problems with coordination, central nervous system, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma and even death.
- Almonds – Not easily digested by dogs. Can cause gastrointestinal irritation and distress.
- Avocado -First, let me start with the GOOD news: Here in Hawaii, we have over 200 varieties of avocados that are safe to feed to our dogs, and many of us feed avocados (no skin or pit!) to our dogs, especially for underweight or itchy dogs with allergies (I have one dog that I have fed 3 avocados/day to, to get him to gain weight). I have checked with several Hawaii vets, and they are all in agreement that it is safe to feed a peeled/pitted avo to our Hawaii dogs (Dogs cannot digest the skin, so they will throw it up (or try to throw it up), so it’s best to peel it), but only start with a little bit at first, to see if they have any reaction. It works wonders! We have tons of avocado trees here, and many of our friends’ dogs here eat avocados in mass quantities and end up gaining some weight and have wonderful shiny fur coats, and they do not get sick. HOWEVER, here’s the BAD news: CERTAIN VARIETIES of Avocado contain a toxic principle known as Persin (Not all avocado varieties contain Persin!!). High concentrations of Persin are found in the leaves, bark, seeds, skin, and pits of the avocado. What varieties are toxic? Guatemalen and Mexican varieties of the avocado are toxic to animals. The Guatemalan variety, a common one found mostly in mainland stores, appears to be the MOST problematic, and the Mexican variety is the least toxic. These two strains of avocado can have different degrees of toxic potential. In dogs and cats: mild (typically vomiting and diarrhea). In other species (e.g., birds, ruminants, etc.), moderate to severe. It does cause significant weight gain in dogs, which can cause problems as they age. Pet birds should never be fed avocado, as canaries, parakeets, cockatiels and large parrots are extremely susceptible to persin toxicity. Signs of persin poisoning in birds includes the inability to perch, respiratory distress, fluid accumulation around the bird’s heart and lungs, liver and kidney failure, and acute death. My suggestion is to talk to your vet before feeding avos to your canine. More information is right here: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/avocado/ If you suspect your pet has avocado poisoning, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately for treatment advice).
- Chocolate – Chocolate (cocoa) is dangerous for dogs because it contains high amounts of methylxanthines, specifically one called theobromine which is toxic to dogs.
- Coffee- Like chocolate, coffee contains methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, thirst, excessive urination, seizures and even death.
- Garlic, fresh – Can cause gastrointestinal irritation.
- Macadamia nuts (Note: Shells are popular as yard mulch) – Can cause weakness, vomiting and tremors, but fortunately are rarely fatal if eaten in small amounts.
- Onions – Can cause gastrointestinal irritation
- Raisins, grapes – Can cause kidney failure in some dogs.
- Tea – Like chocolate and coffee, caffeinated tea contains methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, thirst, excessive urination, seizures and even death
- Tomato leaves, stems – Surprisingly, the greenery of this common plant, not the tomato itself, contains solanine, a toxic ingredient that can prompt gastric upset, depression, weakness, and a decrease in heart rate.
For more information and a complete list of dog poisons, visit the animal poison control website at ASPCA.
Protect Your Pooch, Read Pet Food Labels
Purchasing food for your beloved pooch is one of the major expenses you have within your household budget. But, have you ever wondered what is actually inside the pet food that you toss in your grocery cart? From wet to dry food, there are many different types of grub that your animals eat. They might not know what they are consuming, but it is your responsibility to read labels and know exactly what is put inside the food products that you serve.
With increasingly busy schedules, there is hardly enough time to run errands or take your time shopping for pet food. Yet, the sad news is that there might be ingredients in store-bought pet food that are actually harmful to Fido. From toxic food dyes to preservatives, you might be unknowingly feeding your pets poison which can cause negative side effects, symptoms, and diseases.
For more information on harmful pet food ingredients, take a look at this infographic so you know what to look out for the next time you go grocery shopping.
13 Purifying Houseplants That Are Safe for Cats and Dogs
Check out this easy, go-to guide for introducing safe indoor plants that won’t pose a risk to your four-legged friends!
Most pet owners already know that certain species of houseplants can pose a threat to the health of their furry friends, but here’s an easy reference for anyone looking to add some greenery air purifying goodness to their indoor spaces without compromising the welfare of their pets.
Check out these non-toxic plants.
1. Money Tree
View this post on Instagram
Here’s the trunk of my friend’s Pachira aquatica (I’m its foster parent) – they were once braided but the stems parted ways long ago, presumably to pursue solo careers #moneytree #pachiraaquatica
The money tree
, or money plant, not only works to reduce toxins such as formaldehyde from the air, but is a great choice for anyone with asthma, lung issues, or calls a smoggy city home.
Plus, they’re known for inviting in luck and prosperity, and won’t bother any curious critters.
There are several varieties of palm that are easy to keep indoors, and won’t leave your furry friends sick or feeling icky.
If you’re just starting to cultivate your green thumb, consider the areca palm
which don’t require much care, and naturally purifies the air around it.
3. Spider Plant
View this post on Instagram
Still can’t get over the size of this #spiderplant from @habitpattern.sf 🌿✨ thanks for sharing! // #prickleandvine
Sturdy, safe, and sprouting off dozens of shoots that are easy to clip and cultivate, the spider plant is an excellent way to bring some healing yet decorative flair to any room.
Because this plant tends to dangle, however, take care to place high up in a hanging basket to avoid any cat-induced catastrophes – those stems can be enticing!
4. Boston Fern
View this post on Instagram
LOVING the office space of @wearehuntly!! Particularly the Boston Fern in all her glory!! Isn’t she stunning? What’s better is we have just stocked up on a handful in store! 😍🌿 #bostonfern #greenery #plantlove
Boston ferns are said to work as a living air humidifier, perfect for anyone stuck indoors in areas where harsh winters force us to blast dry heat from air vents.
5. Tradescantia Zebrina
View this post on Instagram
#WanderingJewPlant #AdamsAndSonGardens #HumboldtPark
Non-toxic and known to spread into a lush display, this purple plant is wonderful for hanging near a windowsill or draped over an end table, and cats are known to love their soft, curling leaves!
6. Wax Plant
View this post on Instagram
Little Hoya in a pot made by me on one of my first attempts on the pottery wheel. Would love to make bigger pots soon but it takes patience to master this skill! 🙈✌🏼 #hoyaplant #waxplant #pottery #throwing #potterywheel
This sturdy plant is great for anyone frequently exposed to chemicals found in paint, gasoline, or smog, and is non-toxic to both dogs and cats.
7. African Violet
For anyone looking to add a pop of color to their home, consider the African violet
, whose leaves typically bear a purple or deep pinkish hue.
If you can find a sunny spot for this plant to settle, you and your furry friend can enjoy its beautiful blooms year-round.
8. Moth Orchids
View this post on Instagram
This one might require a little more skill to keep, but moth orchids
not only bring beautiful blossoms indoors, they also purify indoor air.
They are most well known to combat paint fumes, so if you happen to know of any pet parents who recently made a move, this could make for a wonderful housewarming gift.
9. Cast Iron Plant
View this post on Instagram
Aspidistra elatior can actually look good, when provided enough shade. Here, it skirts the base of ‘Professor Charles S. Sargent’ Camellias. They both glow in the evening sun. Close up of the Camellia to follow.. #WillGarden #CastIronPlant #Camellias
Beautiful, hearty, and tough as nails, the cast iron plant will do well under just about any conditions inside the home, and also makes for a great garden filler for the outside areas as well.
Particularly curious critters may be tempted to chew on the large leaves, but luckily, it’s non-toxic and won’t cause any harm.
View this post on Instagram
Everyday i lost my day because of you 💕💦 #permatacinta #bamboo #ATF
This is obviously an excessive amount for an indoor space, but potted bamboo
is easy to find just about anywhere, and only grow as large as their container, so you won’t have to worry about overgrowth.
It also makes for a great and safe way to detox the air inside any home or apartment. Houseplants improve air quality and most are relatively low-maintenance. They also make for beautiful home decor.
There are plenty of safe plants out there to decorate and increase air quality in the home without harming your pets, although a few potted poisonous plants are known for being highly toxic, so be sure to steer clear of succulents (especially if you have curious cats), snake plant, and oleander, which can even be toxic to young children! Sure signs that your cat has gotten into something they shouldn’t are vomiting and diarrhea.
11. Prayer Plant
View this post on Instagram
i really think prayer plants are so cool. #ohiohouseplants #plantsmakepeoplehappy #plants #plantsofinstagram #prayerplant #plantsplantsplants
ASPCA says prayer plants are pet-friendly. They require low light and are non-toxic to both cats and dogs. When the sun goes down, the leaves on the plants come together like prayer hands, and that’s why they’re called prayer plants.
12. Christmas Cactus
View this post on Instagram
Mix things up around the holiday season with a Christmas cactus plant. As someone who goes all out with mini Christmas trees all around the house, this will make a great alternative. Christmas cacti work as hanging plants, or you can keep them on flat surfaces.
13. Swedish Ivy
View this post on Instagram
Swedish ivy grows well in room temperatures and indirect sunlight. Perfect for indoors, and safe for our fur babies.
Do you have any pet-safe plants? Which ones do you have? Tell us in the comments below.
This post was originally published on August 8, 2018.
Here’s a helpful infographic of poisonous flowers from Pro Flowers!
Having plants in the house is a very easy way to spruce up a room, and they can benefit our indoor air quality as well as our mood. The tricky part can be finding plants that are aesthetically pleasing to us and our particular tastes and safe for our pets.
Cats and dogs sometimes chew on plants, and if the plant contains toxins it can cause intestinal problems and – in bad cases – death. Some plants can be kept high on a shelf or hanging from a hook which can deter a cat or dog from getting to them. But sometimes that isn’t possible.
For more information about pet-safe plants, check out these articles:
- Pet-Safe Outdoor Gardening Tips
- 7 Plants That Are Poisonous to Animals
Here are 7 indoor plants that are safe for pets.
A perennial flowering plant that is commonly indoors but may also be planted outdoors. Flowers are usually purple but can be pale blue or white.
Image from Wikipedia
Lady slipper is a type of orchid that can grow up to 2 feet tall. The flowers range from pink to purple to yellow. It is believed that the plant has tannin oils but there’s been no known effects on pets who may have had contact or chewed on it.
Image from Fleurt
A very common houseplant that is known to reduce indoor air pollution. It can be a hanging plant so that its stems and plantlets can be displayed, or a smaller variation that is ideal for a shelf or end table.
Image from Wikipedia
Need a little luck? Money trees are thought to bring good fortune to those who place it in their home. As the money tree grows, it will sprout new leaves which unfold into five leaf stems.
Image from Giving Plants
The cast-iron plant is great for those of us who have black thumbs. It’s a hearty plant that can withstand irregular watering, low humidity, temperature changes, and low-light. This doesn’t mean you can totally forget about this plant, but it is a good option for those of us who lack talent in the gardening area, like me.
Image from Wikipedia
The ponytail plant is another “set it and forget it” type of plant and can be grown in a shallow pot. It’s a slow-growing plant and can be watered every 1 to 2 weeks. Keep them in bright light.
Image from Alpha Botanical
Catnip is a fly and mosquito repellant and can be used as an herbal ailment. Most commonly it is given to cats. Which reminds me, your cat might chew on this one so you may want to keep it somewhere where your cat can’t freely chew on it. You can cut a few leaves off and let your cat roll around and chew on them, as too much might bring out an aggressive response.
Image from Wikipedia
For a more comprehensive list of pet-safe plants check out May’s Greenhouse and the ASPCA’s Comprehensive List of Non-Toxic Outdoor and Indoor Plants.
10 Indoor Plants That Won’t Harm Your Pets
It’s the home décor trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, but is your #crazyplantlady obsession putting your furry friends at risk? While indoor plants are a plus for air purification, raising the energetic vibes of your home and interior style cred, many can be toxic to our four footed family members. To avoid an emergency visit to the vet, read on and get your green thumb ready with our list of the indoor plants that won’t harm your pets…
The thick waxy leaves and ornamental foliage of the tropical evergreen perennial makes the baby rubber plant a popular houseplant. From the succulent family, peperomias are a compact (they won’t exceed 30cm in height) and decorative addition to your plant family that require only occasional watering when situated in bright, indirect sunlight.
You might know this attractive little succulent as the zebra cactus, as it is defined by its distinctive white striped foliage. Easy to grow and take care of (ideal for us lazy folk) the haworthia descends from the aloe family and somewhat resembles a miniature aloe plant. They love bright, indirect sunlight and look great as part of a succulent arrangement—you know, for those interior #goals.
Cast Iron Plant
Are you more of a black thumb than green? Then you may consider the cast iron plant. True to its name, this is one of the toughest houseplants in the nursery and it’s able to withstand your mislaid watering attempts, temperature changes and low lighting. The vibrant, lush foliage of this low maintenance houseplant will bring a sense of the tropics indoors and will thrive in any room of your abode.
Burros Tail Succulent
A succulent with a difference, the burros or donkey tail is a popular and easy to grow houseplant that features trailing leaves which can grow up to one metre long! Ideal as a dramatic hanging showstopper or placed along a windowsill, the burros tail is one of the most forgiving houseplants on the market—so long as they have ample sunlight, they should be able to tough it out!
With its lush, feathery and draping fronds, the Boston fern is a popular choice for indoor plant lovers and newbies alike. With a reputation for being low maintenance, easy to grow and air purifying, unlike the many ferns which can be highly toxic to our beloved pets, this guy will do no harm! Ferns thrive in humid conditions, so make sure you don’t forget to water him and you’ll be rewarded with the vibrant, green foliage that will freshen up your home.
Want to feel like you’re on a tropical beach holiday forever? Head straight for the palms. From the showstopper ponytail palm to the popular areca, bamboo or parlour varieties, you can find palms in every shape and size which will brighten any dull, discarded area of your home. Animal-friendly and relatively low key on the maintenance factor, these staple houseplant additions are a great first purchase for indoor plant newbies wanting to get in on the trend!
Chinese Money Plant
If you’re looking to bring some good fortune into your home and attract the energy of wealth and prosperity (hey, pets can be REALLY expensive guys…) then look no further than the money plant. The traditional Feng Shui cure has a fun and unusual trunk with bright green leaves, making it an attractive addition with *hopefully * rewarding benefits! More on the low maintenance side of things, some regular watering and bright, indirect light will soon have you growing money on trees…
With its tantalizing long, thin leaves, the Spider Plant is a real tease for your kitties, so thankfully, this one is a non-toxic option safe for pets—though we can’t guarantee it won’t get chewed on by curious cats. One of the best indoor plant varieties for air purification, the grass like legs of the spider plant drape elegantly, making it great for a hanging basket. Easy to grow and requiring little extra love, this is one houseplant that will readily forgive you when you forget it for a few days.
Earning its name from the intriguing way its leaves close up at night, like prayer hands, the prayer plant is a popular and fun option for to its showy, intricate foliage of contrasting dark green leaves and bright pink stripes. Relatively easy to grow when in the right conditions, this Brazilian native prefers humid environs, so look to place it in a lowly lit area and keep the soil moist, for best green thumb practices.
Have a pathological fear of houseplants? Then pick one of these hardy, interesting varieties, which grow and thrive without soil! The key to survival for air plants is constant air circulation (of course!) however they do still require watering every few weeks with a long soak, or a touch up mist spray. As a versatile and intriguing design addition, they work well in hanging features or terrariums, just ensure you keep them within bright, indirect light.
Need help keeping them alive? Check out guide to indoor plants for serial killers.
Image credit: Emma Bryant | Design Credit: Isaac Smith
What is the universal edibility test?
Getting lost or stranded in the wilderness is serious business, and you need to make sound decisions to give yourself the best chance at survival. It also helps to know some basic wilderness survival skills. To make sure you’re safe from the elements, you’ll need to know how to build a shelter. To provide you with an opportunity to cook food, boil water and send a rescue signal, you should learn how to build a fire without a match or lighter. The other crucial component to survival is finding water in the wild. People can live without food for up to a month, but water is necessary to keep us alive.
But just because you can live without food doesn’t mean you should. Going without food will leave you weak and apt to make poor decisions, which could endanger your life. Being able to identify edible plants in the wilderness is a good skill to have under your belt. The problem is, there are more than 700 varieties of poisonous plant in the United States and Canada alone, so unless you have a book that clearly identifies edible species, it’s nearly impossible to determine whether or not a plant will make you sick with absolute certainty.
It’s dangerous to eat a plant you’re unsure of, especially in a survival scenario. It’s better to be hungry than to poison yourself. Some poisonous plants look a lot like edible plants. Some plants have parts that are edible and parts that are toxic. Some are only edible for certain periods throughout the year. You can see where mistakes can easily be made.
If you’re in a survival situation and you don’t have a book on local edible plants, there is a test you can perform to give yourself a good shot at eating the right thing. It’s called the universal edibility test, and we’ll cover it in this article.
How to identify poisonous plants
Your backyard may be your pride and joy, but are there poisonous plants hiding out among the greenery? “Leaves of three, leave them be” is a useful rhyme to help you recognize poison ivy and oak and avoid the itchy symptoms they bring, but that’s just the beginning to recognizing toxic plants.
Many others don’t fit into an easy characterization. Some of the most prized decorative plants and flowers can be quite harmful if ingested. If you have young children and pets, take care to steer them away.
Here’s what to look out for:
Poison sumac: Less common than poison ivy and poison oak, poison sumac is actually more toxic than the other two. Contact with this poisonous plant can cause a rash and swelling.
Foxglove: All parts of this pretty, bell-shaped flower are poisonous, and could even be lethal, if eaten. Foxglove (also known by its Latin name, Digitalis) grows wild throughout the United States and is cultivated in gardens because its white, creamy yellow, pink or rose flowers make an attractive addition. Because of its toxicity — bear in mind that a powerful heart medicine is derived from the plant — children must be carefully watched around it. It is also toxic to a range of animals, including livestock, cats and dogs.
Aloe: This is a great plant to have on hand as a natural salve for burns. However, it can be harmful to pets if ingested and can cause vomiting, diarrhea and tremors. If you have this plant, keep it at paw’s length.
Hydrangea: A common shrub with clusters of flowers in pink, purple, white or blue, hydrangeas can be toxic to people and pets if large quantities are eaten. Symptoms include stomach ache, nausea, vomiting and sweating, but it’s usually not deadly.
The Universal Edibility Test
The U.S. military survival manuals are a treasure trove of information for anyone who spends time outdoors. Whether you need to plan a bug-out bag, treat injuries, build a snare, or even prepare yourself mentally for the rigors of solo survival, these manuals are packed with tried-and-true methods and advice. Previously, we showed you how to build an efficient Dakota fire pit using the U.S.M.C. Survival Manual—check it out if you haven’t already.
Today, we’re going to delve into identifying edible plants using a technique called the Universal Edibility Test. This method is found in the U.S. Army Survival Manual, and can help you identify plants that are safe to eat if you run out of other options. But first, a warning: the only way to avoid accidental poisoning with 100% certainty is to eat ONLY the plants you can positively identify. Use this technique at your own risk.
So, without further ado, here is the Universal Edibility Test from the U.S. Army Survival Manual:
- Test only one part of a potential food plant at a time.
- Separate the plant into its basic components -leaves, stems, roots, buds, and flowers.
- Smell the food for strong or acid odors. Remember, smell alone does not indicate a plant is edible or inedible.
- Do not eat for 8 hours before starting the test.
- During the 8 hours you abstain from eating, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant part you are testing on the inside of your elbow or wrist. Usually 15 minutes is enough time to allow for a reaction.
- During the test period, take nothing by mouth except purified water and the plant part you are testing.
- Select a small portion of a single part and prepare it the way you plan to eat it.
- Before placing the prepared plant part in your mouth, touch a small portion (a pinch) to the outer surface of your lip to test for burning or itching.
- If after 3 minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant part on your tongue, holding it there for 15 minutes.
- If there is no reaction, thoroughly chew a pinch and hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes. Do not swallow.
- If no burning, itching, numbing, stinging, or other irritation occurs during the 15 minutes. swallow the food.
- Wait 8 hours. If any ill effects occur during this period. induce vomiting and drink a lot of water.
- If no ill effects occur, eat 0.25 cup of the same plant part prepared the same way. Wait another 8 hours. If no ill effects occur, the plant part as prepared is safe for eating.
Subscribe Today and Save!
CAUTION: Test all parts of the plant for edibility, as some plants have both edible and inedible parts. Do not assume that a part that proved edible when cooked is also edible when raw. Test the part raw to ensure edibility before eating raw. The same part or plant may produce varying reactions in different individuals.
For more information on edible plants, check out Chapter 9 of the U.S. Army Survival Manual, embedded below via Google Books.
Why is your baby at risk?
Once your baby enters the explorer phase, it can add newfound challenges and stress for you to keep tabs on them around the house. They want to crawl or walk all the time, and their newfound mobility makes them want to touch, smell, and taste anything they see! This means having to be extra careful about what is within their reach around the house.
Having poisonous houseplants around can be dangerous at this point. Touching or ingesting the leaves, stem, or soil of some houseplants can cause a series of harmful effects, ranging from skin allergies and upset stomach to vomiting and diarrhea.
Common toxic houseplants
Some of the most common houseplants may, in fact, be quite toxic for your child. Here is a list to help you understand which ones are poisonous houseplants and which ones safe to keep at home with a new little explorer.
Are orchids poisonous for babies?
Most varieties of orchids are not poisonous, and the phalaenopsis variety of orchids has been specifically mentioned as safe. Some varieties of orchids have even been used in Chinese medicine for their medicinal properties. With that said, the orchid is an extensive family of flowers and not all varieties have been researched for their effects on humans. Some varieties, like the lady slipper orchid, are categorized as toxic to humans by the University of California. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep all orchids out of reach of your child.
Peace lilies: how poisonous they are?
Peace lilies are a popular choice for a houseplant, as they are easy to care for and produce beautiful white flowers. But are peace lilies poisonous for humans? The answer is yes, if eaten in large quantities. Ingesting the flower can cause a burning sensation, followed by an allergic reaction. The effects can cause swelling of the tongue, mouth, and lips. If you plan to keep a peace lily, ensure it’s left at a height where your child can’t reach, like on a bookshelf.
Can geraniums be poisonous?
Geraniums are one of the most widely found houseplants, thanks to their brightly colored flowers. Their essential oils are valued for antifungal and antibacterial properties. While geraniums are usually considered safe to have as a houseplant, keep in mind that they may cause skin irritation or contact dermatitis when touched. This is because of the essential oils present in the plant.
Philodendron: is it poisonous or not?
Though the philodendron is often found indoors, it’s quite a poisonous houseplant for humans. Eating any part of this plant can cause a severe allergic reaction, along with vomiting and diarrhea. The calcium oxalate found in philodendron is the poisonous agent. Since it’s a trailing plant that climbs and spreads, it could be particularly dangerous around children if within their reach.
8 Poisonous Indoor House Plants Dangerous to Kids and Pets
Today, we will look into 8 common poisonous house plants that can be dangerous to your children and pets. Identifying these plants and risks associated with each will help you either n avoid such plants or take precautions to prevent complications.
, I Am sure most of you will be surprised to know when I reveal the names of these plants and Some common house plants can really be toxic to children, pets, elderly people and even you, specially , if you do not know about the plant name and its properties. So plant identification is also important before you purchase or grow a plant in your home or garden. I have a big playlist titled – PLANT IDENTIFICATION which has lots of videos on individual plant names and care tips. Will link that at the end of this video.
Well, These poisonous plants can affect your kid or your pet if they:
- Eat the plant leaves and the action is due to some poisonous chemicals
- Touch the plant
- Eat their flowers or fruits
- Touch or eat the Sap or juice produced from the cut ends.
- For pets, Eat the soil or even drink the Water left over in the Plant Tray.
So, lets start identifying 8 common toxic houseplants with some important points and symptoms they produce in pets and humans. And Many of these are also known as good-luck plants, but some may not be so lucky for your pets and children.
- PHILODENDRONS: Yes these are one of the most commonly grown indoor plants and low light plants and most of us are not aware of its risks. Nothing too much to worry because they are mildly poisonous to your pets like cats and dogs. But if ingested in large amounts specially by cats, it cause cause seizure disorder meaning fits or spasms and can sometimes be fatal. In humans, eating its leaves might cause mild stomach upset. This reaction is because of the presence of calcium oxalate crystals in most plants.
- MONEY PLANT (Pothos, Devils Ivy and so on): This might be surprising to most of us. But do not worry, its only midly poisonous, specially to pets and children if leaves are ingested. In Humans it can produce swelling of mouth, tongue and throat and sometime vomiting and loose motions. But in cats and dogs similar symptoms are produced plus it can also produce kidney failure and even death if ingested in large amounts.
- CALADIUM (Elephant Ear Plant): This is another common plant which can cause irritation and swelling of mouth and throat in pets and kids on chewing due to the release of calcium oxalate. Other symptoms can be drooling, vomiting and stomach upset. It can also cause difficulty in breathing and death if ingested in large amounts. And one more point is if the sap gets into eyes it can damage cornea and impair eye sight.
- DIEFFENBACHIA (Dumb Cane Plant): This is another commonly grown house plant and its rightly called dumbcane because eating its leaves can cause irritation and swelling of mouth and throat and it makes you dumb meaning you cannot speak for sometime due to throat or laryngeal edema. This action is again due to calcium oxalate effect. Other symptoms can be pain in the mouth, excessive salivation or drooling, burning sensation, and swelling and numbing of the throat.
- SANSEVIERA (Snake Plant or Mother in Laws Tongue): Yes this is another common easy to grow houseplant and an indoor plant. In Humans as well as pets it causes similar symtoms on Eating it – like mouth pain, excessive salivation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
- PEACE LILY: This is another common indoor plant and an excellent air purifying plant. The signs and symptoms of poisoning are almost similar to that of Phylodendrons, which we already discussed.
- OLEANDER: Though this plant looks beautiful with delicate leaves and flowers, this is infact a toxic plant. Ingestion of leaves and even flower can produce serious symptoms. Ingesting even a single leaf can cause symptoms varying from vomiting, dizziness, tremors and even Heart beat rhythm issues called arrhythmias or irregular heart beats and palpitations and can even cause death. So better avoid this plant if you have pets and children.
- POINSETTIA: This beautiful plant has its toxins in its sap or the juice which comes out from the cut stems or branches. This sap can irritate your skin and cause dermatitis and if ingested can produce nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.