The rubber tree, or Ficus elastica, is a popular decorative household plant. It’s hardy and grows well indoors thanks to a number of features:
- Low light tolerance
- Limited water needs
- Can deal with neglect
- Needs minimal maintenance
- Relatively temperature resistant
Rubber trees can grow to be up to 50′ feet tall, though pot size may limit its growth. The plant’s main identifying feature is its waxy, broad, dark-green leaves.
The popular rubber plant has many parents and pet owners wondering. Are rubber plants poisonous?
Are Rubber Tree Plants Poisonous or Toxic?
Yes, rubber tree plants are toxic along with its cousin Ficus Benjamina.
The plant is dangerous not only to cats and dogs but also to humans and horses if consumed. It’s also irritating to the touch.
In general, rubber trees aren’t toxic enough to be fatal, especially in small doses.
According to the University of California Davis, the Indian rubber plant is in the Level Toxicity Class 4.
Plants in this classification typically cause only minor irritation. While poisonous, the rubber tree is one of the least dangerous toxic houseplants.
What Plant Parts Of Rubber Plant Are Poisonous or Toxic?
The rubber tree gets its name from its sap, which contains a compound called caoutchouc. It’s what gives rubber its elasticity.
While it has many uses, caoutchouc can also irritate the eyes and mucous membranes. If eaten, it will cause more severe symptoms.
Because rubber trees are toxic, you may want to keep them out of reach of children and pets.
To prevent any accidents, if the plant is accessible, make sure to keep an eye on it when kids or animals are in the room.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rubber Plant Poisoning?
Most incidents of Ficus poisoning involve mild to acute skin dermatitis. The sap can irritate the skin, causing discomfort, rashes, and even blistering.
If it gets around the mouth, nose, or eyes, it can cause severe burning.
Signs of poisoning from ingesting the rubber plant sap include:
- Lack of coordination
The severity of the case often depends on how much of the plant was eaten, especially for smaller animals.
Most often, cases of rubber tree poisonings don’t result in fatality for people or pets.
How To Protect Yourself While Handling Ficus Elastica
It’s best to avoid direct contact with rubber tree sap when handling the plant.
If you cut branches or propagate the plant, wear protective latex gloves to prevent the sap causing skin irritation.
If you, your child, or pet comes into contact with rubber plant sap, rinse the area with gentle soap and cold water for relief.
If sap has gotten into anyone’s eyes, gently flush the area with water for about ten to fifteen minutes.
Most of the time, washing the area will relieve any discomfort.
But, if you see rashes or blisters developing, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
If you ingest any rubber tree sap, you’ll most likely suffer little more than digestive distress for a day or two.
Related:Tips On How To Remove Sap From Clothes
If a pet or small child ingests parts of the rubber tree, they may have a more severe reaction due to their smaller size.
If you suspect your pet or child has ingested any sap, call your nearest Poison Control Center immediately.