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Anthuriums, better known as flamingo flowers, are particularly attractive because of their white or red, heart-shaped bracts and the strikingly long pistils. It can be seen on many window sills, adding a pretty pop of color. However, there is one small downside, and that is the toxicity of the anthurium. This should be taken into account in particular if small children or pets live in the household in order to avoid damage to health.


How poisonous is the anthurium?

The name flamingo flower derives from the Greek words 'anthos' for flower and 'oura' for tail and refers to the spadix-shaped inflorescence. The Anthurium (Anthurium) from the family of the aroid family is slightly poisonous. This property is supposed to protect the plant from supposed enemies in the wild.

Since the flamingo flower is kept as a houseplant in many households, its poison can pose a danger to children and pets. However, cultivated species are said to be less toxic than wild forms. With normal handling, the flamingo flower does not pose a great danger. The situation is different when small children live in the household. Eating poisonous plant parts can have serious consequences for them.
Pets such as dogs, cats, parakeets and rodents often have the habit of nibbling on one or the other houseplant. It is often assumed that animals instinctively avoid plants that are poisonous to them, but this is rarely the case. Young cats and puppies are particularly at risk.

tip: To protect against poisoning, it is better to avoid poisonous houseplants for children up to a certain age. At the very least, they should be placed so that neither children nor pets can reach them.

Poisonous parts of plants

  • The entire plant contains poison
  • Highest concentration in the leaves
  • Anthurium belongs to the aroid family
  • However, it is not as poisonous as e.g. the aroid
  • Toxicity is due to calcium oxalate crystals and oxalic acid
  • Other poisons are alkaloids and saponins

Calcium oxalate is an element found in many stones, even kidney stones. On the other hand, soluble salts of oxalic acid are also found in many plants, e.g. in sorrel and rhubarb. Symptoms of poisoning can occur both externally, in the form of skin irritation and rashes, and internally.

Symptoms of poisoning

Symptoms are very similar in children and animals. Anthurium poison can cause irritation and damage to the mucous membranes. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and increased salivation can occur shortly after the consumption of poisonous parts of the plant. The tongue can become severely swollen and cause pain when swallowing. Externally, redness and blistering can occur.

The majority of the symptoms usually subside after 2-3 hours, depending on how much poison was ingested and in what concentration. Nevertheless, a visit to doctor recommended especially when children are involved. In unfavorable cases, even bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract is possible. These or similar symptoms can also be observed in pets.

First aid for poisoning

With children

  • First measure if poisoning is suspected, supply plenty of fluids
  • Those affected should drink as much as possible, preferably water
  • Never give fatty drinks such as milk
  • Excessive fluid intake is said to flush the toxin out of the body
  • Symptoms should be alleviated and slowly subside
  • Even after the symptoms have subsided, a visit to the doctor is recommended
  • A visit to the doctor is all the more important the smaller the child is

In particularly bad cases, which are usually not to be expected with the flamingo flower, a call to the Poison Control Center be advisable. Among other things, information is required there about which plant it is, which parts of the plant were eaten and whether the whole thing was only chewed and spat out or swallowed and how much.

For pets

Pets are generally a bit more difficult to get them to drink more water. Cats in particular have a mind of their own. They do not absorb liquids as readily as, for example, children. In order to ensure that they absorb as much liquid as possible, you can try to mix a larger amount of water with the food. However, if symptoms of poisoning appear, it makes sense to consult a veterinarian. Since cats in particular like to eat all kinds of plants, you should give them access to cat grass or catnip allow them to avoid poisonous indoor plants at best.

notice: Please note that this article is by no means a substitute for a doctor's visit. There is no guarantee of the correctness of medical statements. Detailed information on first aid in the event of poisoning and important information on the poison control centers can be found here.

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