Is The Dracaena Plant Poisonous or Toxic?

Dracaena is a common houseplant. The many Dracaena varieties go by several common names, including: 

  • Cornstalk Plant
  • Ribbon Plant
  • Dragon Tree
  • Corn Plant
Dracaena Lemon lime
Dracaena Lemon Lime

Is The Dracaena Plant Poisonous or Toxic?

This Agavaceae family member contains saponinsis, toxic to cats, dogs and livestocks. These toxic compounds are a form of sugar derivative known as glycoside.

Saponins are foamy substances present in the Soapwort plant (Saponaria officinalis). Soapwort was used by indigenous people to make soap.

Saponins can be a useful substance. In the small amounts found in some foods (e.g. spinach and oats) they can aid digestion. They help improve in the absorption of silicon and calcium. In large amounts, saponins can be poisonous. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Poisoning?

Animals that ingest large quantities of this plant may exhibit the following symptoms: 

  • Depression
  • Weakness 
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Anorexia
  • Drooling

Some animals may vomit blood. Cats may have dilated pupils. [source]

What Parts Of The Dracaena Plant Are Poisonous or Toxic?

The most exposed parts, the leaves, stems, and bark cause the problems. Eating the roots would not be inadvisable. 

Most animals will not eat these plants because of their rather bitter taste. Playful or bored house pets may give it a go. Playful cats are especially susceptible to Dracaena poisoning.

The long, thin, springy leaves draw cats in.

How Can You Keep Dracaena Away From Pets? 

If you have young pets or young kids in your house and don’t have a Dracaena, consider holding off getting one.

If you have a Dracaena in your home, put it in a place where your pet and/or child cannot access it.

Dracaena do well in high and low lighting, and humid conditions, so they make an ideal bathroom plant.

The bathroom is also a good location for shutting the door and keep the kid, dog or cat out.

If you find your pet or child has eaten some of the plant’s leaves, call your vet or doctor right away. Even if no symptoms are evident. The sooner you seek treatment, the better.

Extended symptoms can cause severe dehydration. This is a serious health problem.

Are Dracaena Toxic to Adults? 

Generally speaking, Dracaenas are safe plants to have around.

Touching and handling them does not typically convey toxins.

Even ingesting a very small amount of the toxin is not usually problematic for most adults. Even so, you should wash your hands after handling this (or any) plant. 

People with allergies or are sensitive may experience skin irritation when coming in contact with the plants’ sap. For this reason, it’s a good idea to wear gloves when pruning or repotting Dracaena.

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