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"Poisonous" does not mean deadly. Some manifestations of toxicity are subtle. The dose, as always, determines if a plant is safe source of nutrients or a toxic hazard.

Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions

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BRIEF: I need information on some plants...

I work at a child development center and need up-dated information regarding poisonous plants. The plants that I specifically need information on are listed below. grapefruit tree, mandarin orange watermelon plant, ornamental gord plants, pumpkin plant apricot tree rosemary bush pistachio tree anise plant ficus tree


grapefruit tree, mandarin orange- citrus trees are pretty innocuous, I think some varieties or rootstocks may have thorns  watermelon plant, ornamental gord plants, pumpkin plant - Some peple find cotact with the leaves and stems of cucumber family members a little irritating, but not usually a big problem. Some of the ornamental gourds themselves are toxic, though. apricot tree - the pits and leaves contain amygdalin (prunisin) which can release cyanide under some circumstances, so we don't eat those. I don't think having a tree or eating the fruit will harm little kids, unless it is so big they climb up and fall out of it! rosemary bush- not sure pistachio tree - Probably not too different from a walnut tree,, but if I run across anything, I'll let you know. Ungraded, unsorted pistachio nuts may include some moldy ones which can be toxic (aflatoxin), so just eat the clean green nut meats! anise plant - not sure, will check, but I do know kids can confuse it with poison hemlock  (doesn't seem likely, but you never know) which may be a problem when they go some place else ficus tree - many members of this genus, including the edible fig tree have an irritating white latex or sap that can cause skin problems if broken stems or leaves touch tender skin (or mouth).