It seems ironic that as we behold some of the most beautiful flowers in nature, these same flowers can be toxic and harmful to us. South Florida landscapes, with their stunning displays of foliage and flowers, frequently include plants containing substances that can irritate skin, damage eyes, cause seizures, diarrhea, vomiting or organ failure. It is important for homeowners to be able to identify all the plants in their landscapes and to know which ones could be toxic if consumed by their children, grandchildren and pets. The leaves, oil and/or sap from certain plants can also irritate skin and damage eyes. Gloves should be worn while working in the garden and wash hands thoroughly after handling plants.
Angel’s trumpet and oleander have well deserved reputations for being poisonous. A few examples of other widely used plants that are toxic to varying degrees are: allamanda, jatropha, lantana, caladium, carissa boxwood, croton, azalea, peace lily, philodendron, agapanthus, sago palm and vinca. Riverland Nursery’s website has an extensive list of plants grown in South Florida that could be toxic when consumed by pets.