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The spider plant (Latin: Chlorophytum comosum) belongs to the agave family and originally comes from South Africa. It has been popular as a houseplant all over the world since the mid-19th century. It is very easy to care for and pretty to look at with its long, two-toned leaves. That is why it is also called saxon lily (based on the national colors) or, because it is often found in offices, official grass or official palm. Because it is non-toxic, it makes a good houseplant in homes with children and pets.
Which parts of the plant are poisonous?
In addition to the original wild form, there are numerous cultivated species. However, there are no poisonous components in either the original form or in any of the cultivated forms. However, the seeds contain so-called saponins. These are substances that a plant forms to protect itself against fungal attack. The effect they have on the human body has not yet been finally clarified. They can have a cholesterol-lowering, antibiotic and blood pressure-increasing effect, but they can also irritate the gastric mucosa. However, indoor spider plants rarely form seeds.
What toxins does spider plant contain?
There are no known toxins in the plant. The saponins in the seeds mentioned above are considered to be only slightly toxic and harmless to humans.Offshoots on a spider plant
By the way:
Did you know that the spider plant is a good natural pollutant filter? As various studies, including those by the US space agency NASA, have shown, it can filter and break down chemicals such as benzene or cigarette smoke from the air in the room. In addition, it is able to improve the indoor climate. However, this also means that the pollutants filtered from the air are deposited in the leaves and make them less compatible. Possible side effects resulting from the consumption of large amounts of plant leaves can be exacerbated by these contaminant deposits.
What are the risks for people, especially children/babies, when touching or swallowing?
Touching the plant and accidentally swallowing small parts of the plant have no negative impact on the health or well-being of children and adults. Although spider plants are not poisonous, eating large amounts of the plant can cause gastrointestinal problems. These can be expressed - especially in children - in symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
Notice: Basically, however, it should be noted that all people, and especially small children, react differently to certain substances. It can therefore happen that some children complain of stomach pains even after eating smaller amounts of leaves than others.
What are the risks for animals, e.g. typical pets such as cats, dogs, etc?
The long, downward-growing leaves and especially their offshoots attract some curious pets who like to nibble on them. In principle, the plant is also non-toxic for them, but the information on individual tolerance must also be observed for animals. Very sensitive or sick animals could develop health problems after eating the leaves. This is especially true if the plant is in rooms where it filters many pollutants and therefore larger amounts of toxic substances are deposited in its leaves.
Notice: The spider plant can have a hallucinogenic effect on cats, which occurs when the leaves are chewed frequently. As a result, the cat becomes sleepy and behaves as if in a twilight state. To prevent your cat from nibbling on the leaves, it is best to put the plant out of their reach and hang it up in a hanging basket, for example. And make sure your cat has healthy alternatives to chew on, especially for indoor cats. For you, you should definitely set up cat grass that your darling can enjoy without hesitation.
Birds also seem to enjoy the spider plant's long leaves, as they often peck at them. The occasional nibbling on the leaves is also harmless for them, as long as the plant is not used as a pollutant filter in polluted rooms. However, liver damage can occur in sensitive animals if they consume large amounts of spider plant over a long period of time.
How should one react when touched or eaten?
To prevent nausea or vomiting, you should drink plenty of fluids. Tea or juice is recommended here. If very large amounts have been ingested, taking medicinal charcoal in powder or tablet form may help. If animals have eaten from the plant and show noticeable symptoms, you should consult a vet to be on the safe side.