Q. Where can I find information about plants that are toxic to children?
Quite a few websites provide information about plants that are poisonous to humans.
- Texas A&M extension provides information primarily about herbaceous plants such as perennials.
- Garden Plants Poisonous to People is published by the Australian government, but of course the plants listed are toxic regardless of the country.
- Safe and Poisonous Garden Plants, from the University of California, Davis, provides an extensive list of toxic and "safe" plants. Safe is in quotes because even safe plants can be toxic if too much is eaten. The site also offers some good tips on poisoning prevention and treatment.
- The Alberta Agriculture Department's Poisonous Outdoor Plants offers information on North American Plants.
These are excellent resources, but it's also necessary to teach children not to put any part of a plant in their mouth: leaves, stems, bark, seeds, nuts, berries, or bulbs. Also, do not allow children to suck nectar from flowers or make “tea” from the leaves.
Having said that, children will be children; there is always some risk that they might ingest something. So in addition to teaching them not to eat plants, it's good to have the number for American Poison Control Centers handy: 800.222.1222.
Hope this helps.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service