Is The Dieffenbachia Houseplant Poisonous

Because they are both simple houseplants to grow, Dieffenbachia and Philodendron are well-liked by both inexperienced and seasoned plant enthusiasts. Over 500 species of flowering plants fall under these genera collectively. Despite the fact that Dieffenbachia and Philodendron are different plants, they both have similar harmful effects.

Many common names for Dieffenbachia plants, including “stupid cane” and “mother-in-tongue,” law’s refer to their toxicity when consumed. Unrelated genus of plants called Dracaena is commonly known as “mother-in-tongue” law’s in popular usage. The thick, broad leaves of Dieffenbachia are typically a mix of green, white, and yellow, depending on the species. While some can be clipped to stay as small as 12 inches, others can grow as tall as 6 to 8 feet. Seasonal flowers are occasionally produced by Dieffenbachia when grown inside. Additionally, some plants have sap that, when touched, can sting painfully.

Large, lobed or deeply cut leaves are typical of philodendron plants. The leaves can have a variety of shapes, such as an oval or a spear. Some species can reach tremendous heights because they are climbing vines with aerial roots.

Both Dieffenbachia and Philodendron have calcium oxalate, which when consumed or handled incorrectly can make a plant hazardous. These oxalates produce tiny, needle-like structures called “raphides.” The function of calcium oxalate crystals in these plants is unclear; perhaps they serve as a defense mechanism to deter herbivores. When the plant is chewed or when the sap gets on skin or eyes, raphides can cause mechanical harm and excruciating microtrauma that results in instant pain and edema.

Raphides are present in every section of the Dieffenbachia plant. Additionally, proteolytic enzymes are released by the raphides in Dieffenbachia plants, which worsen the symptoms and cause edema and respiratory discomfort. The leaves of Philodendron plants frequently contain oxalates. Fruit that is edible can be produced by several philodendron species. Unripe fruit, however, will have calcium oxalates in it.

The pain and swelling from severe oral exposures can cause profuse drooling, uncomfortable or difficult swallowing, and speech loss. Skin exposure can result in dermatitis, a rash, swelling, and redness (skin inflammation). Touching the sap then your eye can cause corneal abrasions, eye inflammation, and, in some cases, irreversible eye damage.

For ingested substances, spit out any residual plant matter after rinsing with water. Sucking on ice chips or other frozen foods can provide pain relief if the mouth is still inflamed. Never push fluids. Call 911 if the person is severely swollen in the mouth, drooling excessively, or is having trouble breathing or swallowing. You should immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water for 15 minutes if you come in contact with the sap. If the sap gets in your eyes, flush them out with water right away for at least 15 minutes. If symptoms are severe or do not go away, see a doctor.

Check the webPOISONCONTROL online tool for advice if you are concerned about being exposed to Dieffenbachia or Philodendron plants, or call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222. Whether you call or log on, professional assistance is accessible around-the-clock.

Is the dieffenbachia plant harmful to animals?

The dieffenbachia has broad, variegated leaves that can be any color from yellow to green and can reach heights of over six feet. They occasionally have flowers, but the majority never yield any berries or fruits. Dieffenbachia also goes by the names dumbcane, leopard lily, and mother-in-tongue. law’s Dieffenbachia come in a variety of hues and variations, so whether or not the plant is poisonous in your yard or park may not be immediately apparent. The best course of action is to watch over your dog when he is outdoors and remove any plants from your yard that you suspect to be harmful. This is particularly crucial if your dog has a reputation for chewing on anything and everything. There are dangerous enzymes that, if your dog develops an allergy to them, can cause severe discomfort and even death. Bring your dog right away to the vet or an animal hospital if you think he may have consumed a dieffenbachia.

Dogs should avoid Dieffenbachia plants because of their acid and insoluble oxalate crystals. The crystals on the dieffenbachia’s stem and leaves are actually tiny, needle-like enzymes that are generated to ward off pests. The crystals are released when the dieffenbachia plant is chewed, and they lodge in your dog’s mouth, tongue, and throat. The acids and other unknown enzymes in the rest of the plant are also harmful. Dieffenbachia are well-liked indoor plants, but they are also frequently encountered outside as attractive shrubs or bushes.

Due to the calcium oxalate needles and oxalic acid, the dieffenbachia plant can induce stomach upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea, or blistering and swelling of the mouth. These are irritating to the mucous membranes and can, in some dogs, result in an allergic reaction that, if untreated, might be fatal. Although ocular (eye) exposure is uncommon, it can be very painful, therefore you should take your dog to the clinic for treatment. Exposure to the skin’s surface can also result in symptoms, however this condition is treatable at home by washing with soap and water.

Is it safe to handle Dieffenbachia?

A 2.5-meter ornamental that is frequently cultivated as a shade house or indoor plant for its eye-catching variegated leaf.

The blooms are made up of a long, central spike that is covered in numerous tiny florets and surrounded by a bract or sheath with a greenish hue called a spathe.

Category of toxicity: 2, 3 A word of caution: If your lips or tongue swell up, or if you have trouble breathing or swallowing, call your doctor right once.

Is Dieffenbachia a healthy houseplant?

Tropical plants like dieffenbachia do well indoors in lots of indirect light. Although it can endure low light, its growth will be significantly slowed. More light will cause it to grow again right away.

What would happen if my cat ate a Dieffenbachia?

  • Milk should be used to rinse your pet’s mouth because it is thought that doing so will dissolve calcium oxalate crystals and lessen damage to the mucous membranes.
  • Don’t make someone throw up.
  • Seek quick veterinarian care if your pet is having any breathing issues or shows any signs of swelling around the mouth, jaw, or neck.
  • Asymptomatic animals may be kept under observation at home with your veterinarian’s approval.


  • Hypersalivation
  • Gagging
  • the mouth cavity hurts
  • Lips that are swollen and have redness
  • Having mouth or tongue sores
  • the tongue swelling (may be so severe as to prevent breathing)
  • throat (larynx/pharynx) swelling
  • ocular ulcers (corneal ulcers)
  • Having trouble breathing (dyspnoea)
  • Continent pain
  • enlarged stomach (in the case of ingesting much of the plant)


Dieffenbachia’s needle-shaped crystals that embed themselves in the mucosa initially irritate the mucosa. These crystals’ inflammatory coatings cause ongoing discomfort and tissue damage. Asphyxiation can result in death from dieffenbachia.


Anti-inflammatory medications and, in severe cases of throat swelling or trouble breathing, tracheostomy may be used in veterinary care. The use of gastroprotectants, assisted eating while the mouth heals, and medications if your pet develops aspiration pneumonia are further treatments.

Dieffenbachia is known as “dumb cane” for a reason.

The name “dumb cane” refers to the momentary inability to speak that can happen after biting off a piece of the stem. The calcium oxalate crystals known as raphides, which are endowed with stinging properties, are found in the plant’s cells. The plant’s raphides and sap can irritate mucous membranes and cause swelling and inflammation of the tongue and throat when chewed or consumed. Cats are thought to be sensitive to the herb, though ingestion seldom results in death.

In honor of an Austrian gardener who worked at Schnbrunn in the 1800s, the genus Dieffenbachia was named. Although they are less frequently farmed, several other species in the genus are also referred to as dumb canes.

Is dieffenbachia a cleaner of the air?

Dieffenbachia, sometimes known as dumb cane because when swallowed, its poisonous leaves can temporarily paralyze the vocal cords, provides luxuriant foliage that removes pollutants from the air so your family can breathe easier. It is perfect for creating a tropical look.


Dracaena is a big family of plants, many of which are excellent houseplants. All of them are excellent natural air filters. One of our favorites is the vibrant “Lemon Lime” variety, with its gray-green leaves that have vivid chartreuse edges all around them. The colors are divided by a clean white pinstripe.

English Ivy

English ivy filters dangerous chemicals emitted by common items whether it is grown vertically as a vine, horizontally on a mantel or tabletop, or trailing from a basket. Bright parts are contrasted by dark green variants, while dark sections are illuminated by white or gold variegation.


Ficus, often known as fig trees, filter the air while adding a touch of traditional beauty and elegance to homes and workplaces. Ficus can be used as vertical accents, room dividers, screens, and tabletops as they mature.

Madagascar Dragon Tree

With its grassy foliage, the Madagascar dragon tree adds texture to homes and workplaces and is incredibly easy to grow. Numerous kinds have lovely leaf stripes that are white, pink, purple, or gray-green in color. To make the most of this beauty’s air-purifying abilities, keep it close to where you work and sleep.

Moth Orchid

Who knew that moth orchids were stunning, simple to grow, and effective air purifiers? These vibrant indoor plants help to detoxify the air and add style while doing so. Moth orchids have a reputation for being challenging to grow, but as long as you don’t overwater them, they’re actually rather simple. (Water this orchid approximately once every ten days.)

Peace Lily

Peace lilies enjoy regular waterings and have lush, tropical foliage, making them the ideal choice for anyone who has a tendency to overwater houseplants. Bright areas of the year-round dark green leaves are crowned with spikes of pure white, calla-like flowers. It’s also one of the best types of indoor plants for purifying the air.


Pothos has a well-deserved reputation for being simple to grow. Pothos is a superb air purifier with heart-shaped leaves that are speckled with white, cream, or gold. It can develop into a vine, which makes it ideal for hanging baskets and climbing up wires. However, don’t be scared to trim pothos if you don’t want it to grow too big.

Which plant is the most lethal in the world?

It is one of the most poisonous plants in the Western Hemisphere, and all portions of it, as well as those of its equally deadly sister species A. baetica, A. pallidiflora, and A. acuminata, contain tropane alkaloids. Atropine, hyoscine (scopolamine), and hyoscyamine are the active ingredients and have anticholinergic properties. [41] [42] Dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, dry mouth, slurred speech, urine retention, constipation, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, and convulsions are some of the symptoms of poisoning. [41] [43] [44] The most dangerous component of the plant is typically the root, though this might vary from specimen to specimen. A single leaf of the plant can be lethal to an adult if consumed. [40] A casual brush across the leaves may result in cutaneous pustules. The berries are the most hazardous to kids because of how appealing they appear and how somewhat sweet they taste. [45] The ingestion of two to five berries by youngsters and ten to twenty berries by adults can be deadly. In 2009, six A. belladonna berries consumed by an adult lady after she thought they were blueberries led to a case of severe anticholinergic syndrome. [46] Atropine interferes with the parasympathetic nervous system’s capacity to control uncontrollable processes like sweating, respiration, and heart rate, which results in the plant’s lethal symptoms. Physostigmine or pilocarpine is the treatment for atropine toxicity. [47] Many domestic animals are poisoned by A. belladonna, which can lead to narcosis and paralysis. [48] However, eating the plant appears to have no negative effects on cattle and rabbits. [44] Its anticholinergic characteristics will impair cognitive abilities like memory and learning in people. [42]

Dieffenbachia can cause allergies.

People who touch Dieffenbachia and Euphorbia spp. regularly may acquire dermatitis because they are irritants to the skin. Certain plants, such as “poison ivy” (Rhus radicans), “western poison oak” (Toxicodendron diversilobum), and Primula obconica, can cause hypersensitivity reactions after exposure. Skin washing with water and symptomatic care are the methods of treatment.

After being exposed to plants containing phototoxic psoralens, more severe reactions could happen. Giant hogweed and other Heracleum species, rue (Ruta graveolens), and the “gas plant” are other examples (Dictamnus albus). Skin that has come into contact with these plants’ sap and is then exposed to sunlight may experience a phototoxic reaction that results in eczematous skin sores and many, uncomfortable bullae. Exposure to sunlight should be avoided, and exposed skin should be quickly moistened. Chemical burns are administered to established wounds.

Does dieffenbachia work well in a bedroom?

These common houseplants flourish in the majority of your home’s rooms, from bedrooms with dim lighting to well-lit areas. Dumb canes, however, are incredibly forgiving even in dim lighting. The huge oval leaves need to be protected from direct sunshine at all times. These simple-to-grow indoor plants have green leaves that are speckled with creamy or yellowish color.

Dumb canes are perfect for putting at an empty bedroom wall or in a shady nook because they grow erect. Without using flowers, the vibrant leaves give texture and color to any space.

It Improves Indoor Air Quality

A new study found that interior air pollution might be just as bad as outside air pollution and contribute to headaches, nausea, and allergies.

VOCs such acetone, benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene are released within the home by polishes, glues, fire retardants, and paints.

By providing adequate ventilation and planting air-purifying plants like dumb cane in your house or place of business, you can lessen the negative impacts of these VOCs.

One of the biggest dieffenbachia benefits is that it can lessen harmful substances like xylene and toluene. According to the United States Department of Labor, toluene can lead to weakness, sleeplessness, tiredness, and potentially serious issues such kidney and liver damage.

Where should dieffenbachia be placed?

Indoors, bright, indirect sunlight is the ideal environment for growing dieffenbachia. Plant it in potting soil that is rich in peat, well-drained, and fertile. Being a tropical plant, it thrives in conditions of excessive humidity. Placing the pot on a tray of damp pebbles is one way to achieve this.

What area of the Dieffenbachia plant is toxic?

Dieffenbachia plants have a harmful impact because they contain asparagines, a protein present in the plant, and needle-shaped oxalate crystals (oxalic acid).

If the plant is planted close to children or animals, this could become an issue. The ailment is often transient and moderate.

The plant’s juice, which is present in the stems, leaves, and, less frequently, the roots, is how the poison is spread.

The issues are worse for kids and animals than they are for adults. Rarely do the effects pose a threat to life.

Children under the age of five make up the majority of dieffenbachia poisoning sufferers.