WARNING: This House Plant Could Kill!

When I was a child, we have this potted plant inside our house that my grandmother used to take care of. It is a beautiful green plant that can grow as high as 6 feet. The leaves are large, ovate, and usually have irregular areas of lighter green, yellow, or off-white that follow the veining pattern. It is quite a special plant as she usually wipes the leaves of this plant with a clean piece of cloth to make them shiny and beautiful. It cannot be placed under direct sunlight that’s why it is sitting in one corner of the living room where it can get moderate to bright light. It should also be carefully watered as too much water can cause the plant’s leaf tips to brown; while too much fertilizer can cause curled, crispy leaf tips. It is just recently that I’ve known that this beautiful house plant could kill!

Dumb Cane

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia) is an attractive and popular house plant that features a single, thick trunk that unwinds into several trunks as it matures. I commonly see it inside friends’ and relatives’ houses displayed proudly planted in a beautiful pot.

It got its name from its poisonous sap that a person who chews it may experience an intense burning sensation in the mouth and then lose speech. In severe cases, swelling at the base of the tongue may block the air passage of the throat, with fatal results if not treated in time. It is most dangerous to children, and even pets, who may accidentally put the leaves in their mouth.

There are also some horrifying stories about Dumb Cane. It is reported to have been given to slaves as a form of punishment - the slave master would force the slave to put a piece of this plant into a slave’s mouth that would cause throat paralysis, and therefore result in permanent loss of voice. Also, in 1941, Heinrich Himmler, then head of the SS in Nazi Germany, considered using the dumb cane to sterilize war prisoners. The plan failed due the difficulty of shipping enough plants over from their natural home in Central America.

So BEWARE OF DUMB CANE! As much as possible, avoid using it as an indoor foliage to avoid terrible consequences of accidental consumption of this plant by you, your children, house members, pets or house guests.

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Post a Comment

  1. It's dangerous because it's the most common plant we see in a typical Filipino household garden. As far as I remember, this is one of the plants my mom has. tsk tsk.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yep, that's true. That's why I'm surprise to have known of this info just recently.

    ReplyDelete
  3. thanks for the info. Kaya siguro walang ahas pag may ganyan na plant. Yan kasi sabi ng mother ko.

    Sayang, I like that plant especially for indoors. Marami kaming ganyan.

    ReplyDelete

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