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Caladium plant poisoning

Definition

This article describes poisoning caused by eating parts of the Caladium plant and other plants belonging to the Araceae family.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Alternative Names

Alocasia plant poisoning; Angel wings plant poisoning; Colocasia plant poisoning; Heart of Jesus plant poisoning; Texas Wonder plant poisoning

Poisonous Ingredient

  • Calcium oxalate crystals
  • Asparagine, a protein found in the plant

Note: All parts of the plants are poisonous if large amounts are eaten.

Where Found

Caladium and related plants may be purchased as houseplants or used in landscapes. Types include and .

Symptoms

Eating parts of the plant causes a severe burning in mouth and throat. Other symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Swelling of mouth and tongue
  • Redness, swelling, pain, and burning of the eyes
  • Vomiting

Home Treatment

Wipe out the mouth with a cold, wet cloth, and give milk to drink. Call poison control for more treatment information. If your eyes or skin touched the plant, rinse them well with water.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • The patient's age, weight, and condition
  • The name of the plant and the parts eaten
  • The amount swallowed
  • The time it was swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Take the plant with you to the hospital, if possible.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

What to expect at the emergency room

The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate.

Expectations (prognosis)

Oxalate plants may cause swelling severe enough to block the airways, but this is rare.

References

Hostetler MA, Schneider SM. Poisonous plants. In: Tintinalli JE, Kelen GD, Stapczynski JS, Ma OJ, Cline DM, eds. . 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2004:chap 205.

Media

    Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.