Small10 Poisonous Plants for Children & Pets in South Florida

When it comes to tropical plants in South Florida, beauty can be deceiving. What looks like an innocent shrub can be extremely harmful if small children or pets come into contact with it. Here are 10 commonly used plants in South Florida that are known to be poisonous to children & pets.

1. Oleander


If you have children or pets, remove this shrub from your property immediately. This beautiful plant is thought by many to be the most poisonous plant in the world. All parts of Nerium oleander are considered to be toxic, as they contain cardiac glycosides that have the potential to cause serious effects—including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death. Symptoms that Oleander has been ingested include: diarrhea, vomiting, intense stomach pain, drowsiness, dizziness, & irregular heartbeat.  If you suspect that your child or pet has consumed any part of this plant, seek medical attention immediately.  When handling this plant, use protective gloves and clothing to remove as the sap can irritate the skin as well.  See More Photos Here.

2. Cardboard Palm

Card Board Palm 01-MAIN PHOTO

The Cardboard palm (Zamia furfuracea) produces bright red seeds that are extremely toxic.  Symptoms include: vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, paralysis and death.

It’s the bright red seeds that grow inside the cones that are poisonous. It is best not to have these plants on your property if you have pets or children. If you wish to keep them, cut off the seed cones when they appear or pick fallen cones off the ground to prevent harm to children, pets and wildlife.  If you suspect that your child or pet has consumed the seeds from this plant, seek medical attention immediately.

3. Sago Palm

Sago Palm 3

All parts of Cycas Revoluta or Sago Palm are poisonous, but the seeds contain the largest amount of toxin. The ingestion of just a few seeds can result in very serious side effects, which include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures, liver failure and even death. Signs of poisoning can be seen as early as 15 minutes or up to several hours after ingestion, but blood work changes from liver failure may not show for days. If your child or pet has ingested any part of a Sago Palm, seek immediate medical attention, regardless the time of day (or night).

 4. Peace Lily

Peace Lily-2

A common household plant, Spathiphyllum or Peace Lily contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and irritation and intense burning sensation of the mouth, lips and tongue in children and pets who ingest. Usually children suffer from diarrhea and vomiting after chewing the leaves. Nausea, headache, lethargy, constant salivation, and loss of appetite are also associated with peace lily poisoning in adults as well as children. When consumed in excess, large amounts of calcium is removed from the blood, causing hypocalcaemia. Respiration problems, choking and kidney failure could also be some other serious consequences of peace lily poisoning. If you suspect your child or pet has ingested any part of the Peace Lily, rinse their mouth thoroughly with water and seek medical attention immediately.

 5. Kalanchoe


Kalanchoe contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate. Symptoms include drooling, nausea, diarrhea and stomach pain. These symptoms are followed by cardiac effects. Seek medical attention as soon as possible if your child or pet has eaten any part of this plant or is displaying any of these symptoms.

6. Heart Leaf Philodendron / Devils Ivy

golden pathos

The Heart Leaf Philodendron or Pothos Ivy is a popular household plant known for its air purifying qualities. It can be toxic if chewed or ingested by children or pets.  Pothos (both Scindapsus and Epipremnum) can cause significant mechanical irritation and swelling of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. In pets, ingestion of any philodendrons can cause drooling, choking, swelling of mouth and tongue, difficulty breathing, and upset stomach . It can lead to renal failure and/or death. Seek medical attention immediately if any part of this plant is chewed or swallowed. 

 7. Lantana


Lantana is a common perennial here in South Florida. When handling, it can cause mild and/or short term skin irritation. However if the berries are ingested, it is highly toxic and possibly fatal. Symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, weakness, and trouble breathing. Seek medical attention if you suspect any berries have been eaten by children or pets.

 8. Schefflera

Green Arboricola 04

Schefflera and Brassaia actinophylla are considered mildly poisonous to humans, cats and dogs; however they are not typically considered life threatening. This plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which are released when the plant is chewed or bitten into. These crystals then penetrate tissue resulting in injury and extreme discomfort. In humans, common symptoms after ingestion include a few minutes of vomiting, tingling or numbness in the mouth and lack of coordination. When dogs or cats ingest insoluble calcium oxalate-containing plants, clinical signs may be seen immediately and include pawing at face, drooling, foaming, and vomiting. Moderate to severe swelling of the lips, tongue, oral cavity, and upper airway may also be seen, making it difficult to breathe or swallow. If you suspect that your child or pet has consumed any part of this plant, please seek medical attention right away. Other names for this plant include: Umbrella Tree, Umbrella Plant, Green Arboricola, Trinette Arboricola.

9. Caladium

Caladium 01

Caladium is a popular bulb used by South Florida gardeners. All parts of the caladium are considered toxic to humans and animals. Symptoms after ingestion can include: painful burning and swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips and throat, difficulty breathing, speaking, and swallowing, and possible blocked airways that can lead to death. Signs that a pet may have eaten caladium include: nausea, vomiting, staggering, head shaking, drooling, and difficulty breathing. Seek medical attention if your children or pets have ingested any part of this plant.

 10. Allamanda

Allamanda Bush

Allamanda is a beautiful flowering shrub that has yellow, bell shaped flowers. This shrub likes to climb, although some keep it trimmed into a bush form. Contact with the sap will cause mild irritation. If ingested, Allamanda is mildly toxic to both humans and animals. The severity of the symptoms will depend on how much of the plant is consumed. Symptoms include abdominal pain and diarrhea. Larger exposures may cause dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities. Seek medical attention if any part of this plant is ingested.


If you think that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA has a 24-hour emergency poison hotline: 1-888-426-4435.

Labrador Retriever

For more information, click here for ASPCA Animal Poison Control


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