• TENNESSEE POISON CENTERToll Free Poison Help hotline 1-800-222-1222

    Toxic Plants - All Parts, unless otherwise specified.

    Nontoxic Plants - Those with asterisk* may cause skin rash and itching

    Acorns all Quercus species
    Aloe Vera (leaf) aloe vera
    Angels Trumpet Brugmansia suaveolens
    Asparagus Fern (shoots, berries) Asparagus setaceus
    Azalea all Rhododendron species
    Bittersweet (leaf, fruit) Solanum dulcamara
    Buckthorn Rhamnus Cathartica
    Cactus (spine) Euphorbia species
    Caladium all Caladium species
    Castor Bean Ricinus communis
    Chinese Lantern (leaf, unripe fruit) Physalis alkekengi
    Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum species
    Creeping Charlie Glechoma hederacea
    Daffodil (bulb) Narcissus pseudo-narcissus
    Delphinium all Delphinium species
    Dieffenbachia all Dieffenbachia species
    English Ivy Hedera helix
    Foxglove all Digitalis species
    Gladiola (bulb) all Gladiola species
    Holly all Ilex species
    Horse Chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum
    Hyacinth (bulb) all Hyacinth species
    Iris all Iris species
    Jerusalem Cherry (leaf, unripe fruit)
    Solanum pseudocapsicum
    Lily of the Valley Convallaria majalis
    Mistletoe Phoradendron flavescens
    Narcissus (bulb) all Narcissus species
    Nightshade all Solanum species
    Oleander Nerium oleander
    Peace Lily Spathiphyllum derelandii
    Peony (roots, flowers, seeds) Paeonia officinalis
    Philodendron all Philodendron species
    Potato (sprouts, vine, unripe tubers, green skin)
    Solanum tuberosum
    Pothos Epipremanum aureum
    Rhododendron all Rhododendron species
    Rhubarb (leaf) Genus rheum
    Syngonium Syngonium podophyllum
    Trumpet Lily Zantedeschia aethiopica
    Vinca Vine Vinca rosea
    Wild Mushrooms
    African Violet Saintpaulia ionantha
    Air Plant Kalanchoe pinnata
    Aluminum Plant Pilea codierei
    Baby’s Breath Gypsophila elegans
    Boston Fern Nephrolepis exalta
    Coleus Coleus amboinicus
    Corn Plant Dracaena fragrans
    Dracaena Dracaena species
    Echeveria all Echeveria species
    False Aralia Dizygotheca elegantissima
    *Ficus* all Ficus species
    Forsythia Forsythia
    Gardenia Gardenia jasminoides
    *Geranium* all Pelargonium species
    Gloxinia all Gloxinia species
    Hibiscus all Hibiscus species
    Hollyhock Althaea rosea
    Honey Plant Hoya carnosa
    Impatiens all Impatiens species
    Jade Plant Crassula argentea
    Kalanchoe all Kalanchoe species
    Mountian Ash Sorbus
    Norfolk Pine Araucaria heterophylla
    Palms Chamaedorea elegans
    Peperomia all Peperomia species
    Petunia Petunia hybrida
    Piggyback Tolmiea menzieii
    *Rose* Rosa species
    *Rubbertree* Hevea brasiliensis
    *Sedum* all Sedum species
    Snapdragon all Antirrhinum species
    Spider Plant Chlorophytum comosum
    Swedish Ivy Plectranthus australis
    Wandering Jew (leaf) all Tradescantia species
    Yucca all Yucca species
    Zebra Plant Zebrina pendula
    Zinnia Sanvitalia

    This project is funded under an agreement with the state of Tennessee.

  • Toxicology Question of the Week

    March 17, 2017


    Is the shamrock toxic?

    We boast of the green on our isle’s shores

    Thanks to the plant that grows so grand.

    It thrives in the mires, the bogs, and the mores.

    The dear little Shamrock of Ireland.

                As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, the world looks to celebrate the Irish culture with international festivals, parades, dancing, special foods, and the “wearing of the green”.  One traditional symbol of St. Patrick’s Day is the Shamrock, which was chosen as Ireland’s national emblem based on legends of its use by St. Patrick.  The Shamrock is a common name given to several different types of three-leafed clovers native to and plentiful in Ireland.  Although most commonly associated with yellow clover or white clover, the exact type of plant that represents the “true” Shamrock remains a mystery.  Several different varieties of clover exist in the United States.  Some are native to the continent, while others have been naturalized to North America, originating in Europe and Asia.  How harmful are the “Shamrocks” found in the USA?  Should we be concerned for individuals who place sprigs of “Shamrocks” in their beverages and then drink a toast to this Irish holiday?

                A brief overview of the potential toxic effects that could develop from the different genera of clover will best answer this question. Some of the common types of clover found in this country include:

    1. The Crimson or Italian Clover (Trifolium Incarnatum), which is considered non-toxic and symptoms from ingestion or dermal exposure are unexpected.
    2. The Purple Prairie Clover (Petalostemum Purpureum), which is also considered non-toxic and symptoms from ingestion or dermal exposure are unexpected. 
    3. The Pink Clover (Dianthus Species), which contains an irritant compound that could result in eye, mouth, throat, skin, and gastrointestinal irritation upon contact or ingestion.
    4. The Stinking Clover (Cleome Serrulata), which contains an irritant, Glucocapparin, that could cause eye, mouth, throat, skin, and gastrointestinal irritation as well as an allergic reaction with contact or ingestion.
    5. The Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense), which can cause “slobbering sickness” in animals with bloating, stiffness, diarrhea, and emaciation, but human cases have not been seen.
    6. The Sweet Yellow Clover (Melilotus Officianalis) and the Sweet White Clover (Melilotus Alba), which contain dicumarol and have caused hypoprothrombinemia in animals.  Large ingestions could lead to a warfarin effect with the risk of bleeding.
    7. The White or Dutch Clover (Trifolium Repens), which has moderate cyanogenic capabilities, but no cases of cyanide poisoning have been reported.  However, large ingestions could possibly cause dyspnea, weakness, dizziness, and cyanosis.

    Thus, based on this synopsis, severe toxicity from the ingestion of a small amount of clover residue that might be in a beverage is unlikely; however gastrointestinal upset could develop. Of course, if someone eats a large quantity of the more dangerous clover species, then serious side effects could arise.  As always, please contact the poison control center for any questions or concerns that might surface during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

    For each petal of the shamrock

    This brings a wish your way

    Good health, good luck, and happiness

    For today and every day

    -Mary Elizabeth Blake-



    The Quote Garden

    English-Zone. com

    History, A & E Television Networks

    MICROMEDEX Health Series by Truven Health Analytics


    This Question prepared by:  Cheri Wessels, CSPI, MBA

  • Question of the Week

    March 8, 2016

    Do you know the seeds that kill?

    Local and national media outlets recently reported that a 22 year old died of complications after consuming an unknown amount of pong seeds purchased from Thailand via the internet.

    The seeds are listed for decoration and planting purposes. However, the seeds are from the infamously known suicide tree .


    The pong-pong tree, (bta-buta, nyan, othalanga, maram) also known as Cerbera odollam, grows along sandy coasts, river banks, and mangrove swamps of India and parts Southeast Asia.


    Cerbera odollam is a tree belonging to the poisonous Apocynaceae family, which includes the common and yellow oleanders.

    The kernels contain the active glycosides cerberin, cerberoside and odulin. The kernels contain a digoxin type cardiac glycoside toxin.


    Toxicology: Increased intracellular calcium leads to early afterdepolarization, cardiac irritability, and dysrhythmias. Increased vagal and decreased sympathetic tones lead to bradycardia and heart block. Inhibition of the Na-K ATPase pump causes hyperkalemia.


    Cerbera odollam: sinus bradycardia, wandering pacemaker, second-degree SA block and nodal rhythm, nausea, retching and vomiting have occurred following the ingestion of half to one odollam kernel.


    Reports of accidental or suicidal ingestions in the United States are very rare. The suicide tree is responsible for about 50% of plant poisoning cases and 10% of all poisoning cases in the state of Kerala, India. It is used for both suicide and homicides in that region. Also, it is sometimes eaten by children who mistake it for fruit.

    This Question prepared by: Jeff Moore, RN, CSPI (Certified Specialist in Poison Information) Tennessee Poison Center

    This is a great example of internet shopping. You can get whatever you want-you just cant be sure what it is. ds

  • Ahhh, Spring is in the air . . . Any toxicities with the bulbs?


    Narcissus species contain lycorine and other related alkaloids. Most of the poisonings related to narcissus are from ingesting the bulbs that were mistaken for onions. Ingestion of bulbs may lead to abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The gastroenteritis resolves within a few hours. Interestingly, one of the alkaloids that daffodils contain is galanthamine with is a competitive reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. A synthetic version, galantamine, is approved by the FDA for treatment of mild to moderate dementia of Alzheimer�s disease.


    Some individuals may manifest a skin hypersensitivity reaction due to the irritant effects of the sap when applied to the skin or during picking of the flowers. Contact dermatitis has also been reported with the handling of tulips, particularly the bulbs. Hyacinth bulbs contain high concentrations of calcium oxalate crystals which may also cause pruritis and urticaria. This usually resolves after washing off the irritant from the affected area.


    Irises, the state flower of Tennessee, usually arise from rhizomes and are thought to be a gastrointestinal irritant, however, documentation of human care reports of poisoning are difficult to find.


    Question prepared by: Saralyn Williams, M.D. Medical Toxicologist