Crown Of Thorns Plant Poisonous or Toxic?

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The crown of thorns, also known by the common name crown thorn or Christ plant, is a flowering plant species from Euphorbiaceae or the spurge family.

Flowers of the Crown Of Thorns Plant PoisonousPin

Is Crown Of Thorns Plant Poisonous Or Toxic?

Yes! Generally, Crown of Thorns are poisonous plant but some species may have medicinal and pest control qualities.

Although Euphorbia milii is generally considered an ideal houseplant, you need to exercise caution if you are growing this species in your house, particularly if you have children or pets because it contains phorbol esters, which are poisonous.

Ingestion of any part of the crown of the thorns plant causes toxicity.

Others contain skin irritants that can cause minor skin irritations, and some can cause mild symptoms when ingested.



The sticky sap produced by this hardy plant is also somewhat poisonous and is known to be a skin irritation and eye irritant.

In addition, the sap is among the most irritating plant substances known and causes harmful effects following dermal or mucous membrane contact, particularly ocular exposure.

The plant is known to be poisonous to humans, cats, dogs, horses, and sheep.

Related: Crown of Thorns Plant Yellow Leaves

What Parts Of The Crown Of Thorns Plant Are Poisonous Or Toxic?

All parts of the Christ plant cause poisoning in both humans and pets if ingested.

In addition to this, special care needs to be taken while handling the indoor plant because its injured stems and green leaves produce a sticky, milky sap, which contains caustic chemicals and irritants.

Finding broken stems on a houseplant should concern dog owners even if the plant doesn’t appear chewed since the sap alone can cause irritation to the skin.

Gray powdery patches will appear on infected leaves and flowers, and this will be most apparent after rain.

The sap may also cause irritation when it comes into contact with the skin. Upon contact with the skin and eyes, the irritating sap causes dermatitis and swelling, respectively.

Hence, it causes eye and skin irritation upon contact.

Crown of Thorns plant, red flowers, toxic nature, precaution for handlingPin

If you don’t plan on using herbicides, there are a few organic methods you can use to try to get rid of toxic plants.

What Are The Symptoms Of Poisoning?

Irritation or blistering in the throat and mouth, severe stomach or abdominal pain, and vomiting are the key signs of crown of thorns poisoning.

Some other severe symptoms both humans and animals may experience include emesis, excessive salivation, weakness, and diarrhea.

Upon contact with the skin and eyes, the irritating sap causes dermatitis and swelling, respectively.

You may also experience intense pain, particularly if you have open cuts. The sap may also cause temporary blindness.

If ingested, the crystals can cause severe swelling, difficulty breathing, severe stomach pain, burning, and pain.

Immediately rinse with water if the sap mistakenly gets into your eye, and get medical help if it doesn’t get better within 15 minutes.

In horses, the plant may cause severe blisters and hair loss on the ankles.

How To Protect Yourself While Handling Crown Of Thorns

To prevent getting in touch with the sap, it is recommended to wear gloves while handling Euphorbia milii and discard them immediately afterward.

To be on the safe side, wash your hands as well. Using a spray bottle, spray on the tops and bottoms of the leaves until the mixture drips off.

Also, be careful not to touch your body, eyes in particular, while you are working with the plant.

You can also try pouring boiling hot water or spraying white vinegar on the target plants.

While this Euphorbia species doesn’t attract most animals, it is slightly appealing to livestock animals.

Pets and livestock animals can eat the fleshy leaves of the crown of thorns when they are hungry and are not supplied with their regular food.

History And Background Of The Crown Of Thorns

The association of the ornamental plant with Christ comes from the legend Jesus was made to wear a woven crown of thorns, made from the stems of this plant, during the events leading to his crucifixion.

On the other hand, the plant’s botanical name, Euphorbia milii, commemorates Baron Milius – the person who introduced it in France in the early 19th century.

Additionally, it is believed that the Crown of Thorns was introduced to the Middle East before the birth of Christ.

It is referred to as Coroa-de-Cristo in Brazil and Corona de Cristo in Latin America.

Native to Madagascar, it is one of the few succulents with true leaves and is widely grown in both gardens and indoors because of its ease of growth and colorful, showy flowers blooming almost year-round.

They can grow up to 1’ to 2’ feet tall and are valued for the flowers they produce, which are usually red, pink, or white in color.

When little else is growing during the cold days of winter, Laurustinus produces numerous clusters of tiny white flowers.

While Christ thorn prefers warm temperatures, it can grow in colder climatic regions as a common houseplant.

The plant is hardy to the United States hardiness zones 9 to 11.

You can also propagate these plants by seeds, but seeds are rarely seen in indoor plants, making them impractical and tedious.

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