Beware of poisonous plants!

  • Yang: Zamioculcas zamiifolia is very poisonous and is rarely seen locally. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

  • Wu Mei Liang: Amorphophallus rivieri Durieu is poisonous and should therefore be used with care. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

  • Calla Lily may cause swelling and numbness of mouth and tongue if swallowed by accident. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

  • The public should be aware of Zamioculcas zamiifolia as it is usually put in places of frequent human activities. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

  • Snake plant is considered a good helper in purifying the air. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

  • The stem of Hymenocallis littoralis (Jacq.) Salisb is highly poisonous and could cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even death if swallowed by accident. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

The environment on the earth is getting from bad to worse nowadays, and it is our duty to keep our environment green.

However, there are many unknown plants around us that are poisonous.

Poisonous "money tree"

As in recent years, many people like to plant "money trees" in their gardens as it could make the environment green. Besides, they also hope that the plant would bring them good luck. Unfortunately "money tree" is a type of poisonous plant that would release a toxic gas that could harm the human body.

Of course, some of the plants used for sprucing up the home environment such as snake plant, spider plant, boat lily, cinnamon, Biota Orientalis, Crape Myrtle, aloe vera, pandan, Pholidota chinensis Lindl, cinnamon, pitcher, etc. could purify the air at home.

As a result, we have to be more alert when choosing plants for our homes.

Yang: Avoid poisonous plants

Experienced Chinese medical doctor Yang Su Xiong said during an interview with Sin Chew Daily that these plants were wild in nature and had been moved by people into their homes as ornamental plants as they could cure diseases and possess lovely appearances. Some of them were even costly.

Yang said these ornamental flowers had since become human’s "companions" and were planted in pots, gardens, etc.

However, some of the plants with or without bright colours are poisonous and might even pollute the air and cause allergic reactions that might harm human organs. Some of these plants could even cause cancers!

Beasts staying away from "money trees"

Yang said it should be noted that those poisonous plants such as "money tree" with luxuriant foliage are usually planted to decorate the house and most importantly, it is said that the plant could bring good fortune to its master.

The price of money tree has increased in recent years. Nevertheless, it is a type of poisonous plant and is even more poisonous than Ussuriensis Maxim so much so that all the beasts are scared of it and try to escape from it!

Causing skin allergy

Moreover, there are no other plants that can survive next to it, so it is not hard to imagine how poisonous it is! In addition, the poisoned soil on which the money tree grows could put human’s life at risk if we have eaten other plants growing on it!

We can get skin allergy and swollen face as well as gum in contact with its sap. If you have planted it at home, please remove it to a remote corner away from the windows, as its poisonous vapour could affect the health of the entire family.

Snake plants purifying the air

Yang added if the house owner insisted to put money tree at home, he would suggest the house owner to plant some snake plants, Dracaena fragrans and spider plants, as these plants could purify the air and absorb the harmful gases in the air, including carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, vinyl chloride and other carcinogenic gases.

Money trees have turned into "invisible killers" as they would release poisonous gases that could jeopardise the health of their masters instead of bringing them fortune.

The real name of money tree is Zamioculcas zamiifolia and its common names include Aroid Palm, Arum Fern, Money Tree, Fat Boy, Eternity Plant, Zanzibar Gem, Chinese New Year Festive Plant, Chinese Gold Coin Plant, etc. It is found in a region of Africa with somewhat extreme growing conditions. It is an unusual aroid (member of the family Araceae) and grows naturally in eastern Africa primarily. Its medical functions are still unknown until this day.

Yang: Four types of poisonous plants

Yang said plants can be divided into four different categories according to their degrees of toxicity, namely very poisonous, poisonous, lightly poisonous and non-poisonous.

Very poisonous: The degree of the toxicity is more vigorous, and generally not be taken orally (or prohibited). They need to be cooked for several hours before being applied on the skin, such as the croton, soil ternata, Hook, crack tip leaves ,Ploughshares, konjac, yellow oleander, oleander and datura.

Poisonous: They need to be processed and cooked for a long time to reduce their toxicity, and must be used in caution, such as a brother king, jasmine, castor, jatropha, Jaligonic , periwinkle, lily, Allamanda cathartica, Duranta, Cardinals Coral, variable leaf wood, horn melon, Brucea javanica, mosaic Evergreen.

Lightly poisonous: The toxins would normally be removed upon cooking, such as iron Begonia, Sarcandra glabra, Garden Euphorbia, Notoseila laqueata, D. indica, hongbeigui, shegan.

Non-poisonous: Non-toxic and can be used after observation.

Clinically, poisonous plants can be used to treat a number of stubborn chronic conditions such as malignant sores, stubborn ringworm infection, snake bites etc. (Translated by LIM LIY EE/Sin Chew Daily)

MySinchew 2010.07.02