The poisonous plants that could harm your children - and the symptoms to watch out for

There are some specific poisonous plants which can pose an extreme danger
There are some specific poisonous plants which can pose an extreme danger

Although many garden and woodland plants are completely harmless to wildlife and humans alike, there are also some specific poisonous plants which can pose an extreme danger - especially if your little ones come into contact with them.

These plants can be growing in your garden, in the local park or even in woodland areas, so it’s worth knowing what they are and what to do if your child does come into contact them, in order to reduce serious harm.

Poisoning can occur from:

-Eating or touching leaves

-Ingesting berries, blossoms, or roots

-Skin contact with sap or juices

-Eating soil

-Drinking water from plant tray

These are some of the most common plants which can pose a danger to your child:


Although ingesting philodendron usually has only mild side effects (including a dermatitis reaction and the swelling of the mouth and digestive tract), if a large amount is ingested this could potentially cause fatalities in children.

Arrowhead Plant

This plant is related to the philodendron and is also easy to care for, which is why it’s a common choice for a household plant.

The leaves on this plant are constantly shedding and being regrown, so even if this plant is out of reach, it’s a good idea to check often for fallen leaves.

This plant can cause irritated skin, stomach upset and vomiting, so it’s advisable to keep it out of reach of your little ones.

Peace Lily

The peace lily is a shade-loving plant, which makes it ideal for flats and rooms with little sunlight.

They are also excellent air purifiers, like philodendrons, but they can also cause painful symptoms and sometimes death if consumed by humans or animals.

In humans, if ingested this plant can cause burning and swelling of lips, mouth, and tongue, difficulty speaking or swallowing, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea.


All parts of the bluebell plant contain toxic glycosides, which are poisonous to humans and animals, including dogs, horses and cattle.

Ingestion of any parts of the plant, whether flowers, leaves or bulbs, causes a lowering of the pulse rate, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting.


Many spring bulbs, including hyacinths and daffodils, are toxic if eaten by humans or pets.

Hyacinth bulbs can be mistaken for shallots or onions and, if eaten, can cause intense stomach problems, high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat.


Irises contain the potentially toxic compounds irisin, iridin, or irisine.

Symptoms of poisoning include the gastrointestinal tract becoming affected by the glycoside iridin, causing nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and fever.

Iris can also cause skin irritation or dermatitis.


English ivy (hedera helix) is an indoor and outdoor ornamental vine and contains saponins, which can cause poisoning in humans, alongside cattle, dogs and sheep.

Two chemicals in the sap can also cause severe contact dermatitis on sensitive skin.


All parts of the daffodil contain a toxic chemical named lycorine.

The part of the plant that contains the highest concentration of lycorine is the bulb, but eating any part of the plant can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. These symptoms usually last for around three hours.

What to do if you suspect your child has come into contact with a toxic plant

Don’t leave anything to chance. If you suspect your child has come into contact with a potentially toxic or poisonous plant you should contact your doctor or emergency services immediately for advice, and don’t wait for any possible symptoms to develop.

If plant poisoning is suspected when a child falls ill suddenly, seek medical advice immediately.

Taking a specimen of the plant or berry that has been eaten along with you to the hospital will also be extremely useful if this situation does arise, but be careful when handling the plant yourself.