This plant is commonly used for interior decoration in many offices and homes. Be cautious about having this plant where kids would roam around as it is moderately poisonous, mainly for the children. Got this information in a mail forward and upon digging more details, got to learn more about this plant. It should be uprooted from gardens and taken out of offices. If you touch this plant by any chance, make sure you don’t touch eyes unless the hands are cleaned thoroughly since it can cause partial or permanent blindness.
More details of this plant is as below:
Scientific Name : Dieffenbachia ssp
Common Name : Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
Family : Araceae, Arum family
Characteristics : This is an ornamental plant that is used commonly as an indoor plant. Perennial tropical plant which can grow up to 2.5m tall. Erect stems, thick and fleshy with big leaves ending in pointed apex. Largely petiolate, marbled with white or yellow. Flowers in spadix surrounded by a sheath like leaf which is small, white-greenish. It rarely flourishes when it is cultivated, only sometimes at the beginning of spring when the plant is well grown up.
Uses: As a toxin to poison the arrows – the juice of the plant has been used by the native Amazonian people to be part of the preparations with which they poisoned the arrows.
Toxicity : Medium. The toxicity of this plant is due to its content in calcium oxalates. There are theories exist on the presence of other components, as proteolytic enzymes that propitiate the histamine production. Their sap is irritating because of the presence of this component that appears in form of crystals that damages the skin tissues by contact when injected. The calcium oxalate is also a cause for spew, irritating and inflammatory properties. When it is together with the calcium, can be the main reasons for the production of kidney stones. Calcium and magnesium oxalates are two of the main components of poisonous plants. Equally its ingestion produces the irritation and inflammation of gastric mucous and it can damage the kidneys, arteries or the stomach of those who eat it.
Symptoms: It can produce dermatitis in the skin, with reddening, itchiness or burning. More serious symptoms can appear such as bladders or ulcers. Its contact with the eyes, it produces irritation and transitory lost of vision. When its juice is ingested, it can produce vomits or diarrhea and even big inflammations of the digestive tract, especially in the mouth, the throat and the lips. A big ingestion of the plant can end up producing breathing difficulty, which is not very habitual. The accidents are usually more common in children who chew the leaves, which produces a quick irritation with inflammation of the mucous membranes and a great salivation. The quick action of the toxins of this plant usually propitiates its spitting what prevents the patient to continue chewing it . Although there have been registered more severe cases, it usually leads to a very painful local inflammations that don’t usually affect to the circulatory system or respiratory tract. Among the other most habitual symptoms include swallowing difficulty, salivation, lost of sensibility with tingling sensation in the tongue, itchiness or ulcerations in the lips. It is a plant whose ingestion is toxic for the domestic animals. There have been registered many cases of intoxication with mortal result in dogs, cats, rabbits and canaries that ate it. The symptoms are similar to those produced on people.
Treatment : Mouth rinsing with plenty of water to eliminate the small pieces of the plant that could still remain in the mouth. Demulcents to alleviate the irritation and soothe the membranes. Immediate medical care with antihistamines and analgesics is required. Being such a habitual plant in our homes it is advised to be wise in its manipulation (it is convenient to use gloves when one has to cut a leaf) and it is very convenient to take it away from the reach of the small children to avoid some possible accident.
Technical information extracted from this source. Published this article in the interest of my blog readers.