17 Common Poisonous Plants
National Poison Prevention Week

The ASPCA has identified 17 common plants that are considered highly toxic to pets.  Their post is really good, but I've added pictures so you can help identify them.  My added text is in red.

easter lily Pictures, Images and Photos
Members of the Lilium spp. are considered to be highly toxic to cats. While the poisonous component has not yet been identified, it is clear that with even ingestions of very small amounts of the plant, severe kidney damage could result.
Many types of oriental lilies are included in flower arrangements, and the Easter Lily shows up in the spring in grocery stores to tempt us with its bright white petals and fragrance.  However, this is one flower that should be kept well-away from cats because of the danger to feline kidneys.

Marijuana plant Pictures, Images and Photos
Ingestion of Cannabis sativa by companion animals can result in depression of the central nervous system and incoordination, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, and even seizures and coma.
Well, unless it's medicinal, I'm guessing most cat bloggers don't have pot plants in their homes!

Sago Palm Pictures, Images and Photos
Sago Palm
All parts of Cycas Revoluta are poisonous, but the seeds or “nuts” contain the largest amount of toxin. The ingestion of just one or two seeds can result in very serious effects, which include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and liver failure.  The spiky leaves are attractive to house-bound pets.  Provide cat grass as an alternative, and make sure that if you have mature plants that the seeds do not develop.

tulips Pictures, Images and Photos
Tulip/Narcissus/Daffodil bulbs
The bulb portions of Tulipa/Narcissus spp. contain toxins that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.
The flower parts of tulips, daffodils, and narcissus are less-toxic, but the leaves do have a high level of toxicity.
 Everyone loves to get a bouquet of tulips or daffodils, but keep them out of reach of your pets!

Members of the Rhododenron spp. contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system in animals. Severe azalea poisoning could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse.  Another popular flowering plant that shows up in grocery stores and florists in the spring - azaleas come in many colors and are very tempting to purchase to add a splash of color or as a quick gift for Mother's Day.  Keep azaleas outside as a landscape plant.  They are deer-resisitant to deer for a reason!

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.  Very toxic to humans as well as pets, this is one shrub I probably wouldn't plant even if it were hardy in my growing zone.  Popular with murder-mystery writers for a reason - this is a VERY deadly plant.


Castor bean Pictures, Images and Photos
Castor Bean
The poisonous principle in Ricinus communis is ricin, a highly toxic protein that can produce severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.  Okay, I admit it - this is one of my favorite annual landscape plants.  Few plants can create such fast dramatic growth as a castor bean, and they have been shown to help deter moles from your yard.  However, their seeds and seed pods contain the highly poisonous ricinus - toxic to all mammals, including humans.

Cyclamen Pictures, Images and Photos
Cylamen species contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant. If consumed, Cylamen can produce significant gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.  Who can resist this flowering house plant in the grocery store?  Well, you should.  Not only is it toxic, but because almost all cyclamen plants are prone to mite infestations, the plants are drenched in insecticides by the florist industry - insecticides that are treated to remain on the leaves to keep the mites off - these insecticides can rub off the leaves and make humans and pets ill if ingested, making the plants a no-no in my book.

Kalanchoe Pictures, Images and Photos
This plant 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.  Okay, this one I did not know about until I read it on the ASPCA website.  I grew up with cats and kalanchoes living in harmony, and no cat I ever had tried to chew the fleshy succulent leaves.  These plants are very popular in the mass-market florist trade because their long-blooming sturdy flowers can handle transportation and have a long shelf-life.  Found year-round at almost every grocery store's florist nook.


Taxus spp. contains a toxic component known as taxine, which causes central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.  The ubiquitous evergreen foundation shrub.  Just don't cut any branches for inside during the holidays, and dispose of hedge-trimmings in the trash (don't compost) and they can remain part of your landscape.  Beware of the red berries in the fall, however - some birds can eat them, but they are toxic to mammals.

amaryllis Pictures, Images and Photos
Common garden plants popular around the holidays, Amaryllis species contain toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia and tremors.  My favorite blooming houseplant of all-time.  The flowers usually aren't attractive to cats to eat, and neither are the floppy, strappy leaves.  I have had both amaryllis and cats for years.  My advice - just keep the leaves up away from cats, and put the plants outside when they are done blooming.  If you don't feel like taking care of the bulb after it has bloomed, give it to a gardening friend who can cherish it.

Autumn Crocus Pictures, Images and Photos
Autumn Crocus
Ingestion of Colchicum autumnale by pets can result in oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone marrow suppression. Not a common houseplant, and probably the one on this list that most of us will come into contact with the least.   However, in late winter, pots of crocus appear in the grocery store to entice us.  The grassy leaves can be way too tempting for cats to chew on - go for a pot of wheat grass instead!

crysanthemum Pictures, Images and Photos
These popular blooms are part of the Compositae family, which contain pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset, including drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed.  The common mum.  As cut flowers and seasonal potted plants, it is hard to get away from a mum.  Pyrethins are used as insecticides, so best to keep mums away from nibblers! 

English Ivy
Also called branching ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, sweetheart ivy and California ivy, Hedera helix contains triterpenoid saponins that, should pets ingest, can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea.  The common landscape ivy.  Not only can it be a nuisance if it escapes from the confines of being a ground cover, but it can also be a caustic emetic when ingested.

Peace Lily Pictures, Images and Photos
Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily)
Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.  Many years ago, Spooker chewed on some Peace Lily leaves and got blisters on her lips and gums, so I know first-hand that this common houseplant can be harmful.  If you have it in your home, be aware that it has the potential to be hazardous.

pothos Pictures, Images and Photos
Pothos (both Scindapsus and Epipremnum) belongs to the Araceae family. If chewed or ingested, this popular household plant can cause significant mechanical irritation and swelling of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.  I've always had pothos, and have never had an issue with cats chewing the leaves.  However, the dangling vines can be tempting to bat at and play with, so be wary if you have this plant in your home.  Pete is the only one who has ever really been a pest with this plant, and I simply sprayed around my plant with cat repellent spray (available at pet stores).

Schefflera Arboricola; 8in pot $37.50 Pictures, Images and Photos
Schefflera and Brassaia actinophylla contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.
Another popular houseplant, sometimes called 'umbrella plant' - it is common because it is a tropical shrub that can tolerate low-light inside situations - another one to keep out of reach of inquisitive pets and children.

A video by the ASPCA of these plants can be viewed by clicking here.
Keep your pets safe and happy.
~ Not The Mama

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Mo and The Purries


  1. Why thank you for that excellent post! Now I am off to beat up the male who wonders how cats ever survive in the house if we react to all those things (of course we not big plant eaters and even our naughty cats tended to dig them up rather than nibble).

  2. Great blog post. I don't have any of the plants and my cats stay indoors. Safe and sound cats.

  3. Anonymous1:10 PM

    wow, those really are common plants. almost everyone at least has one of those...

  4. Anonymous5:02 PM

    I saw that video, but your post is much better! Rascal has chewed on pothos without a problem, but he hasn't really eaten much. He's more into destruction than digestion. I've gotten rid of almost all of them anyway. There was one hanging one left in the living room and he discovered he could jump right into it and swing back and forth. I was NOT pleased.

  5. Thanks for posting about this! We do not have any indoor plants any more. But mostly because my Mommie is not good at growing thinigs.

  6. All my favorites are on that list. I'd be dangerous if I could keep any of them alive.

  7. Mum says don't forget aloe vera! That is what gave me tummy troubles a few years ago.

  8. Sheesh! I only knew four out of that list! Pothos? I'm really surprised! I have a house full of plants and I have to be careful with my cockatiel because he loves to chew on leaves. I buy special dark green veggies for him so he won't get into trouble with poisonous plants.

  9. Anonymous3:02 PM

    OH wow! Momma wants to say thank you SO much (and we do also), momma did not know so many things.. luckily momma does not get any of them any more however she did not know "not" to.
    We think we might bookmark this page, thank you again my little dreamy kitties, and lickities to you not the momma! :)))

  10. This is a very good list and excellent pictures!
    Thank you for posting it.
    ~ The Bunch

  11. Wow!! Mom has pothos and me and Tigger lay right by it!! EEEKKK!! We don't do plants, but you never now!!
    Thanks for the pictures and the info!!
    Your FL furiends,
    and Maverick

  12. Great article. I do have to say that most pets need to eat a lot of any of these plants to get really sick...mine have nibbled on pothos, peace lily and others even when I put them out of reach but they were fine..not even sick. Best to be safe than sorry tho.

  13. Thank you, Mo, for this most informative post. I have lots of house plants and for the most part the cats don't bother them. Wally will chew on the Pothos plant sometimes and I always am concerned about that but he has not had any problems...yet...of course, I stop him from chewing it the minute I see him.

    I had a cat that ate a yucca plant and had vomiting, etc. I didn't see yucca on the list though...

    Island Cats' Mom

  14. Anonymous10:56 PM

    I stumbled across your website and I thought I'd lay down some more poisonous plants to get them out there, I had to learn them for plant ID in college so I'll list them: Delphinium or Larkspur, Monkshood, Foxglove, Lantana (annual), Peony, Globeflower, Pasque Flower, St. John's Wort, Red Elder, Snowdrop, Snowdrop Anemone, Staghorn Sumac... that's only for outside plants but there's so much more for warmer climates. Houseplants... different story there's Flamingo lily, Kaffir lily, Croton, Dumb Cane, Angel's Trumpet (also an eye dilator for humans so don't touch eyes while handling these!!) Crown of Thorns, Poinsettia, Hydrangea, Elephant Ears, Mistletoe, Schefflera (Umbrella plant) and Philodendron. Sorry for the bad news... there's a ton of info on some sites on what certain effects certain plants have on people or pets. Your secret horti friend!

  15. This is great information to have!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Katie Kat


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