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First Aid for Caladium Plant Poisoning

Last updated Feb. 26, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Caladium Plant Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of the plant or plant product containing the compound.


What is Caladium Plant Poisoning?

  • Caladium is a flowering plant that is native to South America. It is typically used as a decorative plant in gardens
  • Caladium Plant Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake of the plant or plant product containing the compound
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

Caladium Plant Poisoning may be also referred to variously as the following:

  • Alocasia Plant Poisoning
  • Angel Wings Plant Poisoning
  • Caladium Plant Toxicity
  • Heart of Jesus Plant Poisoning
  • Texas Wonder Plant Poisoning
  • Elephant Ears Plant Poisoning

What are the Causes of Caladium Plant Poisoning?

  • Caladium Plant Poisoning is caused by eating caladium plant or plant products
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • The poisonous part of the plant is calcium oxalate crystals and the protein asparagine that is found in all plant parts (leaves, stems, roots, etc.)

Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Caladium Plant Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. The signs and symptoms of Caladium Plant Poisoning may include:

  • Burning sensation in the mouth and throat
  • Swelling of the mouth and tongue; unable to speak clearly
  • Formation of mouth ulcers that may affect the functions of speaking and swallowing
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Contact with the eye may result in pain, redness, watery eyes, and potential damage to the cornea of the eye

How is First Aid administered for Caladium Plant Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Caladium Plant Poisoning:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency help number immediately, for emergency assistance
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Provide them with information such as the compound taken, quantity and time of ingestion, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • Clean the mouth to remove any remaining pieces; wipe mouth with a wet cloth
  • Following an ingestion of the substance, immediately give milk to drink
  • In case of symptoms that indicate difficulty in swallowing including vomiting or decreased alertness, do not give anything by way of mouth
  • If skin exposure or involvement of the eye has occurred, then wash thoroughly with copious amounts of water (for at least 15 minutes)
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the plant or plant product to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Monitor vital signs
  • Medically manage symptoms
  • Provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Wash skin and eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining hazardous compound
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line, if necessary

Who should administer First Aid for Caladium Plant Poisoning?

First aid for Caladium Plant Poisoning is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who is affected, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Caladium Plant Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Caladium Plant Poisoning is dependent on the amount of substance consumed, time between consumption and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • If the individual can recover from the symptoms that occur due to mild poisoning or skin contact, the outcome is generally good, with appropriate medication and early support
  • In case of severe symptoms due to severe exposure/poisoning, it may prolong time of recovery

In general, toxicities are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.

How can Caladium Plant Poisoning be Prevented?

Caladium Plant Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Avoiding eating wild berries and plants, especially if you have no information about them
  • Following working in the garden or fields, hiking, or camping, always wash hands thoroughly, prior to eating anything
  • Always follow instructions for usage of any health or cosmetic products
  • Keeping cosmetics, medications, and other healthcare products out of reach of children in child-proof containers
  • Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)

It is important to give your healthcare provider a complete list of prescription and non-prescription medications that are being currently taken. This will help them in assessing the possible drug interactions within various medications and help avoid/prevent accidental or unintentional toxic drug effects.

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, amount and time of intake of the substance
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 6, 2017
Last updated: Feb. 26, 2018