Floridian Nature

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Florida Plants: Poisonous Plants
Florida Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222  
With such an abundance of plant life in the state of Florida, it isn't surprising that some of these plants or toxic. Poisonous plants may be harmful or fatal if swallowed, or they may cause a reaction just by touching them. When dealing with plants in the wild it is important to remember a few simple pointers. Recognize the plants in your surroundings. Read through our list of poisonous plants in Florida and familiarize yourself with plants that are in your area. Always purchase non-toxic plants for your home and garden.
-Remove and destroy poisonous plants from your home and garden and ask your neighbors to do the same. The safest way to avoid poisoning is to remove any toxic plants in your home environment.
-Teach children that putting leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, berries or wild mushrooms in their mouths is dangerous.  Be aware that these plants may also be poisonous to pets.

-Keep a bottle of Syrup of Ipecac in your home (do not use unless instructed to do so by your physician or the poison information center).Keep a Poison Information Center number near your telephone. Call the Poison Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222.  If asked to go to the emergency room take part of the plant, seeds, or berries with you to aid identification.

-Never eat wild mushrooms and destroy mushrooms that appear in the yard.  Forage for your mushrooms in the produce department of your grocery store.

-If you suspect possible poisoning from a plant : Remove all plant pieces from mouth. Rinse mouth and lips with cool water. Offer sips of water to drink. Wash hands with soap and water. Read through our list of poisonous or toxic plants found in Florida and make sure your families and pets are protected.

We have a photograph of each toxic plant to help you determine which plants are unsafe in your yard or landscape. Click on the thumbnail photo to see a larger image!

yellow alamanda a toxic plant(Yellow) Alamanda (Allamanda Cathartica)- All parts of the plant contain allamandin, a toxic iridoid lactone. The leaves, roots and flowers may be used in the preparation of a powerful cathartic (hence the name); the milky sap is also known to possess antibacterial and possibly anticancer properties. Gardeners exposed to the sap will develop rashes, itch, and blisters.

angels trumpet, a toxic plant in FloridaAngels Trumpet (Brugmansia)- All parts of Brugmansia plants contain dangerous levels of poison and may be fatal if ingested by humans or animals, including livestock and pets. Contact with the eyes can cause pupil dilation (mydriasis) or unequal pupil size (anisocoria). Some municipalities prohibit the purchase, sale, or cultivation of Brugmansia plants. When flowers, leaves or seeds are eaten, problems such as dry mouth, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, fast pulse, difficult urination, confusion, flushed skin, fever, dilated pupils, blurred vision and constipation can occur.

Arrowhead plant, a toxic plant often found in FloridaArrowhead (Syngonium podophyllum)- This plant has large, arrow shaped leaves and comes in a variety of gorgeous colors, from bright green to a muted pink. Because the sap from Syngonium is an irritant, it will appear on lists of poisonous plants. The arrowhead plant goes by numerous names including arrowhead vine, American evergreen, five fingers, and nephthitis.

Autumn Crocus a poisonous plant in FloridaAutumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)- Autumn crocus has been mistaken by foragers for ramsons, which it vaguely resembles, but it is a deadly poison due to the presence of colchicine, a useful drug with a narrow therapeutic index. The symptoms of colchicine poisoning resemble those of arsenic and there is no antidote. Despite its toxicity, colchicine is an approved treatment for gout and is also used in plant breeding to produce polyploid strains.

 toxic Brazilian pepper-tree in FloridaBrazilian Pepper-Tree (Schinus terebinthifolius)- The family Anacardiaceae contains poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and Schinus terebinthifolius, or Brazilian pepper-tree. People sensitive to poison ivy, oak or sumac may also be allergic to Brazilian pepper tree because it also has the potential to cause dermatitis to those with sensitive skin. Some people have also expressed respiratory problems associated with the bloom period of pepper tree.

toxic caladium plant found in Florida landscapes and gardensCaladium (Caladium x hortulanum)- Caladium are easy to grow. They are tropical plants, native to the Amazon river area of Brazil. So, it's no surprise that these plants love a warm, shady, humid environment. Caladium is grown as an ornamental plant for it's colorful leaves. The leaves come in a variety of combinations of green, with white, pink or red. It grows to it's full height of 12" to 30" in one season. Ingestion can cause severe irritation to the mouth and throat and may also be an irritant to the G.I. tract. Children as well as cats, dogs and other family pets that may nibble on the foliage are all at risk. Lake Placid, Florida claims to be the Caladium capital of the world.

Castor bean plants are poisonousCastor Beans (Ricinus communis)-The castor bean plant is prized for its castor oil and full, fast-growing leaves, but the castor beans it bears produces a deadly poison that kills people within days. Castor beans contains a toxic protein called ricin, which releases when chewed, mashed, or finely ground. Several tell-tale symptoms occur within 12 hours of ingesting castor beans, with deadly symptoms arising in one to three days. Swallowing a chewed or split bean can cause bloody vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, drowsiness and death from liver or kidney damage. 
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