- Author: Lauren Snowden
- Posted by: Elaine Lander
Originally posted on the UC Master Gardener Program Statewide Blog
During the holiday season many plants, cut flowers and flowering bulbs are used as decoration and given as gifts. Many of these items can be poisonous to both humans and pets with long-term negative effects to one's health. Plant poisoning can range from simple rashes and blisters all the way to organ damage and in severe cases death. Be safe this holiday season by being mindful of what plants and flowers you are either giving, receiving or decorating with. Common holiday plants that pose a toxic risk are: Amaryllis (bulb portion), Chrysanthemums, Holly (berries), Mistletoe (berries and leaves) and Poinsettia.
Simple steps can be taken to help minimize the risk that poisonous or toxic plants cause when brought into the home.
- Know what plants you have in your home and the health risks they pose
- Place poisonous plants out of reach of children and pets
- Teach children not to put any part of a plant in their mouth
- Discard plant leaves and flowers in a safe way so that children and pets cannot get to them
- Use protective gloves and clothing when handling plants that may be irritating to the skin
- Wash your hands after handling plants
- Don't garnish food trays or tables with poisonous plants
Signs of poisoning range from dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or stomach cramps. Some plants can cause irritation to the skin, mouth and tongue and immediate burning pain. The signs of poisoning may not appear immediately so if you suspect that someone has been poisoned by a plant, telephone your doctor or the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222. If you are advised to go to an emergency room, take the plant or a part of it with you (take more than a single leaf or berry). Take the label, too, if you have it. The correct name can result in the proper treatment if the plant is poisonous. If the plant is not dangerous, knowing the name can prevent needless treatment and worry.
To view a list of safe and toxic plants for humans please visit: http://ucanr.edu/sites/poisonous_safe_plants/
To view a list of safe and toxic plants for animals please visit: http://ucanr.edu/sites/poisonous_safe_plants/Plant_Toxicity_Levels_523/
For houseplant pest problems visit: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74172.html
Pittenger, Dennis. California Master Gardener Handbook--2nd Ed, Davis, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2015./h3>/div>/span>
- Author: Karey Windbiel-Rojas
- Author: Elaine Lander
The CDC health advisory states “Veterinary formulations intended for use in large animals such as horses, sheep, and cattle (e.g., “sheep drench,” injection formulations, and “pour-on” products for cattle) can be highly concentrated and result in overdoses when used by humans. Animal products may also contain inactive ingredients that have not been evaluated for use in humans. People who take inappropriately high doses of ivermectin above FDA-recommended dosing may experience toxic effects.”
Incorrect use of any pesticide can lead to injury, negative health impacts, or severe illness. Be sure to always read and understand the label when using pesticides and only use them where specified on the label. As a reminder, disinfectants are pesticides too, and should be used properly to minimize health risks.
Visit our website for more information on pesticides in homes and landscapes. If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing serious illness due to pesticide exposure, contact the Poison Control hotline at 800-222-1222.
March 18-24 was National Poison Prevention Week. While our blog post may be tardy, it's never too late to raise awareness about the risks associated with using pesticides and how to protect yourself and your family from accidental poisoning.
Pesticides are any substance used to kill, repel, or deter unwanted organisms, including insects, spiders, weeds, plant diseases, or animal pests such as rodents. In most situations, effective nonchemical options exist to control pests. However, if you decide to use a pesticide, please consider the following tips:
- Consider using pesticides in bait stations and gels instead of sprays to reduce pesticide exposure.
- Learn about the potential hazards of a pesticide on the UC IPM Pesticide Active Ingredients Database.
- Follow the instructions on the pesticide label. The label contains important information about safety and hazards.
- Wear personal protective equipment such as goggles, close-toed shoes, and chemical-resistant gloves when using any type of pesticide, including weed killers (herbicides).
- Remove children, their toys, and pets from an area before applying any pesticides, even organic or "natural" ones.
- Never store pesticides in food or drink containers. Frequent cases of pesticide poisoning involve children or adults who drink from these containers and become sick or die.
- Seal pesticide containers tightly after use.
- Store pesticides in a locked cabinet away from children.
- Post the Poison Control Centers' national helpline number, 1-800-222-1222.
Read more about using, storing, and disposing of pesticides safely in Pest Notes: Safe and Effective Use of Pesticides in the Home and Landscape. You can also find a variety of other sources of pesticide information for both home users and professional pesticide applicators on the UC IPM Pesticide Information pages.
For information about nonchemical options for managing many different types of pests, see the UC IPM website covering home, garden, turf and landscape pests.
Saharan mustard has been documented in eastern San Benito County on Panoche Road; in western Fresno County; in Monterey County at Fort Hunter Liggett; and in San Luis Obispo County it is concentrated near Morrow Bay and north of Santa Maria, but has been identified elsewhere as well. Below is an image from the CalFlora website showing documented locations of Saharan Mustard. For the interactive version of the map, click here to go to CalFlora then you can click on individual observations to get more detailed information.
The plants bloom from January to June (Ihsan 2012). It is not known how long the seeds can live in the soil, but scientists think they can survive for many years.
If you see this plant please let me know. You can email me at email@example.com or call me at 831-637-5346 x14. If you have a plant that looks like Saharan mustard, but you're not sure if that's what it is, you can bring (or mail) the plant to my office and I can identify it for you. My office is located at 3228 Southside Road, Hollister, CA 95023, right next to the Ag Commissioner's office.
For more information about Saharan mustard and how to control it click here for the UC Weed Report.
All information for this article comes from DiTomaso, J.M., G.B.Kyser et al. (2013), unless otherwise noted.
CalFlora. 2018. Calflora: Information on California plants for education, research and conservation,
with data contributed by public and private institutions and individuals, including the Consortium of California Herbaria. [web application]. 2018. Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database [a non-profit organization]. Available: http://www.calflora.org/ (Accessed: Feb. 12, 2018).
DiTomaso, J.M., G.B. Kyser et al. 2013.Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United
States. Weed Research and Information Center, University of California. 544 pp. http://wric.ucdavis.edu/information/natural%20areas/wr_B/Brassica_tournefortii.pdf accessed February 12, 2018.
Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz. 2012. Brassica tournefortii, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=16085, accessed on February 12, 2018.
- Author: Carmen Kappos
Lit candles, sparkle lights, pine boughs, flowers and festive plants; all things we may add to our homes as the days darken and we celebrate the holiday season. It is fun stuff but possibly dangerous too. The American Veterinary Medical Association cautions that “risky temptations” like these could be dangerous to pets. Small children could be affected as well.
Some flowers and festive plants that can be dangerous, poisonous, or just troublesome include amaryllis, mistletoe, pine, holly berries, balsam, cedar, lilies and daffodils. They are so beautiful at the holidays, just make sure they are out of reach of both pets and small children and collect any pieces that fall to the floor. Many plants we purchase may have also been treated with pesticides that can cause problems if eaten.
If you have a live tree don't add anything to the water as that can be dangerous to pets if they can manage to drink the water. It can also develop bacteria and mold that could make a pet ill.
Christmas trees can be an irresistible temptation to some cats who love to climb, shake, eat tinsel, break ornaments, well you get the idea; the Internet is full of cats & dogs creating their own fun with our decorations. If your furry friends tend towards holiday mayhem consider securing the tree to a post, doorway or the ceiling. Fishing line is strong and pretty unobtrusive for this task.
When you've gotten all your holiday chores done, food planned and decorations up; I hope you can also put up your feet for a bit. Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday season!
In Case of Emergency:
- Poison Helpline: (800) 222-1222
- ASPCA Poison Control Helpline: (888) 426-4435