Is Pencil Cactus Poisonous To Humans

The pencil cactus or milk bush plant, Euphorbia tirucalli, is widely used as an attractive plant in the southern United States and has a sap that is poisonous to people. The sap is also one of the most irritating plant chemicals known to man, and it can hurt skin or mucous membranes, especially if it gets in your eyes. Thus, early detection and treatment assist to prevent serious side effects like blindness. This activity discusses the diagnosis and treatment of Euphorbia sap exposure and emphasizes the part played by the healthcare team in enhancing patient care.


Describe the typical history and physical findings after exposure to the sap of Euphorbia tirucalli.

Explain how common Euphorbia tirucalli sap exposures are evaluated and treated.

Identify the serious consequences of exposure to the sap of Euphorbia tirucalli and explain their treatment.

If I touch a pencil cactus, what happens?

The pencil cactus produces a viscous sap of toxic latex that is poisonous to both people and animals. The milky sap can irritate skin and result in redness, rashes, burning, and other side effects. Avoid getting sap in your eyes, since it can irritate them and even result in blindness. The pencil cactus will make you throw up and have diarrhea if you eat it. The sap can trigger anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction, in some people. If the sap comes into contact with your eyes or skin, you should seek medical attention. Keep kids and animals away from the pencil cactus.

By Danielle Radin •• Amy Kat of Paradise Hills was stunned when she came home to find her one-year-old great Dane-mix, Remi, injured and her maltipoo, Koopa, sick.

As Kat said, “I saw Remi had sap on his fur, and as I brushed it off, his skin rolled off with it.” “My infant, Koopa, was lying on the ground, surrounded by four mounds of puke. He was not responding.

Kat claimed that she was so terrified that she took both of her dogs to a Chula Vista emergency pet clinic. The veterinarian informed her that one of her garden pencil cactus succulents was to blame for the dogs’ illness.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states that the pencil cactus, also known as Euphorbia tirucalli, is poisonous to humans, dogs, and cats in all countries and can result in significant intestinal and skin damage (ASPCA).

The plants are referred to as “sticks of fire” by certain people. They might be the size of a tree or small enough to fit inside a container.

“Both humans and pets are toxic to the white, milky sap of this plant. When sap comes into touch with the skin, a painful rash appears there. According to Laura Eubanks, a succulent expert in San Diego, if the sap gets in the eyes, it can briefly render a person blind.

According to Kat, Remi was chemically burned on 30% of his body by the pencil cactus. Koopa, her second dog, was throwing up because he had consumed some of the herb.

The pencil cactus is poisonous, why?

According to Laura Eubanks, a specialist in succulents, the pencil cactus blooms throughout the winter. They are available at neighborhood hardware and gardening stores.

According to Eubanks, the issue is coming into contact with the milky sap, which is made of latex. Both humans and pets are harmful to it.

She emphasized that soap and water might not work to remove the sap and that alcohol might work better.

How is a pencil cactus burn treated?

This plant contains a milky sap that is quite abrasive to the skin. Approaching it should be done with utmost caution as it may be hazardous. It could burn the mouth, lips, and tongue if ingested.

Contact with the skin may result in extreme itchiness, redness, and a burning feeling. Contact with the eyes may result in excruciating discomfort and, in rare circumstances, brief blindness that lasts several days. Within 12 hours, symptoms could get worse.

For eye exposure, rinse your eyes with cool, fresh water for at least 15 minutes before doing it again. If there is no improvement, seek medical attention. Antihistamines sold without a prescription might help some people. Deaths from ingesting the sap have been documented. If swallowed, one should seek medical help right away.

Use dried baking soda to treat skin contact by sprinkling it over the afflicted region. Cover the sap or affected area with baking soda and rub it in. As a result, the sap will start to ball up in the baking soda, making it easier to remove.

Before attempting a self-administered remedy, **The Cactus King always advises obtaining immediate care/advice from a medical expert. If unsure, dial 911. **

Can I grow pencil cacti at home?

The succulent Euphorbia family includes the pencil cactus plant. Due to the milky sap that the plant produces when damaged, it also goes by the popular name Milkbush. When taking care of a pencil cactus, exercise caution because the toxic sap might be problematic for some people. The pencil cactus requires a lot of light and only a little moisture. It makes a great houseplant and has a unique silhouette. Let’s examine how to cultivate pencil cacti at home.

Is a firestick the same as a pencil cactus?

The firestick plant, also known as the pencil cactus or Euphorbia tirucalli, belongs to the succulent plant family. In addition to these names, the firestick succulent is also known as a pencil cactus, a stick cactus, a fire plant, and “sticks on fire.” The firestick plant’s name origin is depicted in pictures. The succulent has bunches of stems that resemble pencils and an orangey-red tint that appears to be on fire.

The Euphorbiaceae family includes the shrubby succulent known as the firestick plant. The cultivar “Fire sticks,” sometimes known as “Rosea,” of the typically very tall pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli). With its magnificent stem color, it is a very ornamental plant to adorn any garden or manicured area.

The pencil cactus, often known as the firestick plant (Euphorbia tirucalli), has green stems (left). The stems of the “Rosea” cultivar, sometimes known as “fire stick” or “sticks on fire,” are reddish orange, especially in the winter when the hue is most vivid (right)

The fleshy stems of the firestick plant resemble small red, orange, yellow, or green twigs as they grow in clusters. The bushes of firestick plants mimic sea coral due to their amazing growth and primarily red colors. The little branches of the shrubby succulent are 0.27 (7 mm) thick.

The pencil plant, sometimes known as the firestick plant, is not a form of cactus, despite its common names of “pencil cactus” or “firestick cactus.” The firestick plant develops tiny, oval leaves, unlike cactus. Firestick plants are not cacti and do not belong to the same botanical family. Cacti are in the botanical family Cactaceae, but firesticks are a member of the succulent plant family.

You should always handle the firestick plant carefully since it possesses a deadly milky sap.

The firestick cactus is a succulent that requires little maintenance. Bright sunlight, warm temperatures, and low humidity are ideal for the firestick plant. Make sure the plant develops in a soil that drains effectively. When the soil becomes dry, water the plant only infrequently.

The article offers a thorough care manual for developing succulent firestick plants. It’s crucial to understand the cactus-like plant’s toxicity before examining how to water, reproduce, and cultivate it.

Can pencil cactus be burned?

Even if the sap simply gets on your clothes or gardening gloves, you could still be at risk for hours or even days after coming into touch with it. Even after it has dried, it can result in catastrophic eye damage and excruciating skin irritation.

Light sensitivity, redness, swollen eyelids, blurred vision, and even bleeding might ensue from contact with the eyes. If handled too late, getting sap in your eyes can damage your corneas and perhaps make you blind.

When treating eye exposure, clean the damaged eye quickly and frequently for fifteen minutes, being very careful not to let water get on your skin or into your other eye. Prior to seeking medical attention, irrigate the eyes. [source]

Skin-to-skin contact may result in swelling, excruciating burning, intense itching, and a nasty rash that may lead to blisters and the skin peeling off.

If Pencil Plant sap gets on your skin, you should sluice the area with cool water right away. Take extreme care to avoid getting sap on any other bodily parts.

Taking a warm or hot shower, for instance, should be avoided right away after handling this plant because it would distribute the sap rather than remove it, aggravating the irritation.

The acidic sap will severely burn the lips, mouth, and tongue if consumed. Vomiting, stomach pain, and excessive salivation are typical signs of ingestion.

Consuming Milk Bush sap can be dangerous if not handled. Should you consume pencil tree sap, always seek medical attention.

With any type of contact with the sap (skin, eye, or ingestion), allergic responses are highly possible and can include shortness of breath, jangly nerves, anxiety, and even anaphylactic shock.

How should you react if pencil cactus sap gets in your eye?

McVeigh recommends washing the eye with water right away if sap does get in the eye. She wrote in an email to Reuters Health, “Irrigation of the eye is crucial when any chemical injury occurs, since it not only dilutes the substance in question but also aids in resetting the pH of the ocular surface.

What succulents are toxic?

Succulents like the Kalanchoe and Euphorbia can be poisonous to people. Even non-toxic succulents should be kept out of the reach of kids and pets as a general guideline for all house plants.


Plants in the Euphorbiaceae family include euphorbia succulents. They are the fourth-largest genus of flowering plants and are frequently referred to as spurge plants. They are a blooming plant that is primarily found in tropical and subtropical regions. Around 1,200 of the family’s more than 2,000 species are succulents. These succulents are renowned for their large, fleshy leaves, blooms, and cactus-like appearance.


These plants release a milky sap that both people and animals may find harmful. Usually, a succulent’s leaves will have sap on them. It can result in a rash if it comes into contact with any exposed skin. Euphorbia sap can irritate the eyes and cause pain and redness. In order to safeguard your hands and eyes when handling Euphorbia succulents, wear gloves.


If you touch or come in contact with Euphorbia sap, wash the affected area well with lots of lukewarm water right away. Because the sap is sticky, more water and soap could be necessary. Start cleaning your eye(s) with warm water if Euphorbia sap gets in them. In the event of any plant exposure, it is crucial to contact the Poison Center for further instructions.


Usually found in adorable pots, kalanchoe succulents can be found in flower stores or garden centers. A little cluster of flowers that typically has one huge bloom atop the stalk is produced by them. Large kalanchoe succulent leaves are typically a vivid dark green. There are up to 125 different species of this kind of plant.


When consumed, the majority of kalanchoe plant kinds only possibly produce nausea and vomiting. Some Kalanchoe species have a naturally occurring toxin that can harm the heart. The majority of the time, this occurs in grazing cattle and in some animal experiments, although it is unlikely to harm humans.


If you or someone else has consumed a piece of kalanchoe succulent, rinse your mouth out with water and a soft towel. Call the Poison Center to discuss potential symptoms with a poison information professional. Call your veterinarian straight away or go to an animal poison center for help if your pet has consumed a piece of kalanchoe plant.

Can you get sick from cactus spines?

Cactus spines can lead to issues such inflammation, infection, toxin-mediated reactions, allergic reactions, and granuloma development if they are not entirely removed. Soft tissue foreign body therapy requires a high index of suspicion because patients frequently deny having ever experienced a penetrating injury. Penetrating skin wounds should be examined for foreign bodies since failing to identify and remove splinters can injure patients and constitute malpractice.

Cacti are they poisonous?

There are many people who enjoy cacti, but the majority avoid handling them frequently because to their thorns. So, are the spines of cacti poisonous? Are the spines of cacti harmful? You may learn more about different varieties of cactus spines, whether they are poisonous or harmful, and other information in this post.

The spines of cacti are not toxic. However, some cactus spines (such as Cholla or hairlike spines) can be harmful if they penetrate deeply into tissues and can result in bruising, bleeding, and even dead tissues.

Why is the reddening on my pencil cactus?

The pencil cactus becoming red is entirely normal. After all, this is the plant’s actual natural hue. In a healthy environment, the plant turns crimson.

When the temperature is low and the sun is shining brightly, pencil cacti glow crimson. Because the pencil cactus becomes red or orange, it is also known as the firestick plant.

To turn red or orange, the plant needs remain in the harsh sunlight. They are grown for this color alone. The uppermost portion of the stems should turn red or orange.

When it rains, the plant briefly becomes green. A portion of the plant becomes green if it is in the shadow.