TABLE 11–1 Common houseplants Common name a. Easy to grow Cast iron plant Christmas cactus Dragon tree Lucky bamboo Mother-in-law’s tongue (snake plant) Pothos Spider plant b. Somewhat easy to grow African violet Aloe Chinese evergreen Croton Dumb cane Jade plant Parlor plant Peace lily (white flag) Prayer plant Rubber plant c. Other popular houseplants Anthurium Asparagus fern Baby tears Begonia Bird’s nest fern Boston fern Crown of thorns English ivy False aralia Fiddle leaf Gardenia Grape ivy Hawaiian schefflera Heart leaf philodendron Neanthe bella palm Nephthytis Norfolk island pine Peperomia Piggyback plant Pittosporum Pleomele Podocarpus Pony tail palm Purple passion plant Sago palm Staghorn fern Ti plant Umbrella plant Wax plant Weeping fig Zebra plant Scientific name Aspidistra elatior Zygocactus or Schlumbergera Dracaena marginata Dracaena sanderian Sansevieria Epipremnum Chlorphytum comosum Saintpaulia Aloe Aglaonema commutatum Codiaeum variegatum Dieffenbachia Crassula argentea Chamaedorea elegans Spathiphyllum Maranta Ficus elastica Anthurium sp. Asparagus densiflora Helxine soleirolii Begonia sp. Asplenium nidus Nephrolepsis exaltata Euphorbia millii Hedera helix Dizygotheca elegantissima Fiscus lyrata Gardenia augusta Cissus rhombifolia Schefflera arboricola Philodendron scandens Chamaedorea elegans Syngonium podophyllum Araucaria heterophylla Peperomia obtusifolia Tolmiea menziesii Pittosporum tobira Pleomele reflexa Podocarpus macrophyllus Beaucarnea recurvata Gynura aurantiaca Cycas revolute Platycerium bifurcatum Cordyline terminalis Schefflera (or Brassaia) actinophylla Hoya carnosa Ficus benjamina Aphelandra squarrosa 11.1 Factors That Influence the Choice of Houseplants 347
11.1.6 SAFETY Some houseplants contain toxins that can be harmful upon contact to the skin or if ingested. Further, some plants produce flowers and hence some pollen grain that can trigger allergies in humans. If children are going to be in the home, homeowners should not only concerned about toxic plants, but also about those with anatomic features that can cause physical harm (e.g., pointed tips, thorns). 11.1.7 TOXIC PLANTS Generally, plants that exude a milky liquid when snapped or bruised (the Euphorbia species) contain some toxic substances. Many of the species with underground modified structures (roots, corms, bulbs) contain toxic substances. The toxins vary in potency and most are glycosides or oxalates. While these toxic houseplants may not cause death, they can cause gastrointestinal inflammation and dermatitis. Glycosides like those found in oleander and lily of the valley can stimulate the heart in addition to being irritants to the mouth and intestinal tract. Pothos and saddle leaf contain oxalates that irritate the mouth, lips, tongue, and stomach. Those plants with solanine can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Houseplants that are relatively more toxic than others, sometimes dubbed the “dirty dozen” are aloe vera, Boston ivy, caladium, dumbcane, English ivy, German ivy, Indian rubber plant, mistletoe, philodendron, potted chrysanthemum, weeping fig, and yew. Other toxic plants are listed in Table 11–2. TABLE 11–2 Toxic houseplants Other toxic plants Comments on toxin 348 Chapter 11 Growing Houseplants Amaryllis Amaryllis Alkaloid lycorine in bulbs, Arrowhead plant ; Nephthytis Syngonium podophyllum Toxic oxalates Asparagus fern Asparagus setaceus Toxic dermatitis Azalea Rhododendrum occidentale Variable toxins Bird of paradise Poinciana gilliesii Variable toxins Bittersweet Solanum dulcamara Toxic solanine Boston ivy Parthenocissus quinguefolia Toxic oxalates Caladium Caladium sp. Toxic oxalates Chenille plant Acalypha hispida Causes skin and gastrointestinal inflammation Christmas rose Helleborus niger Toxic glycosides Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum sp. May cause dermatitis Creeping Charlie; ground ivy Glechoma hederacea Variable toxins Creeping fig Ficus Possible dermatitis Croton Codiaeum variegatum Croton oil, strong purgative causes gastroenteritis Crown of thorns Euphorbia millii Variable toxins Dumbcane Dieffenbachia seguine Toxic oxalates English ivy Hedera helix Variable toxins God toothed aloe Aloe nobilis Possible dermatitis Heartleaf philodendron Philodendron cordatum Toxic oxalates Hydrangea Hydrangea sp. Cyanogenetic glycoside Jerusalem cherry Solanum pseudocapsicum Contains solanine Lily of the valley Convallaria majalis Toxic glycosides Marble queen Scindapus aureus Toxic oxalates Majesty Philodendron hastatum Toxic oxalates Narcissus Narcisuss sp. Toxic alkaloid lycorin Needlepoint ivy Hedera helix Variable toxins Oleander Nerium oleander Toxic glycosides Poinsettia Euphorbia pulcherima Irritant Pothos Scindapus aureus Toxic oxalates Rhubarb Rheum rhaponticum Toxic oxalates
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