Poisonous Plants

Compiled by: The San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society

P.O. Box 712514 , Santee , California 92072-2514

Referenced with permission of the San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society

The purpose of this list is to make you aware of plants that are potentially dangerous to humans and pets. It was compiled from a variety of poison lists. Every effort has been made to identify the plants by their common and scientific names, along with the portion of the plant that is dangerous. Plants known to be toxic to tortoises are marked with an asterisk (*). The number in ( ) refers to toxicity symptoms listed on page 4. Plants with (D) potentially cause dermatitis. For emergency information, call the San Diego Poison Information System, 1-800-876-4766

Acokanthera: fruit and flowers

Aconite/Monkshood*: root, flowers, leaves

African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha): leaves

Agapanthus/African Lily: foliage, bulbs

Aloe (Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis): possible irritant if not fresh

Almond: See Prunus Spp.

Amaryllis (Amaryllis belladona)*: all parts

Amsinckia/Tarweed: foliage, seeds

Anemone/Windflower: all parts

Angel ‘s Trumpet Tree (Brugmansia, Datura): toxic

Apple: See Prunus Spp.

Apricot: See Prunus Spp.

Arrowhead Vine: toxic

Atropa belladonna: all parts, esp. black berries

Autumn Crocus*: bulbs

Avocado: leaves

Azalea (Rhododendron) (18): all parts are fatal!

Bamboo ssp: all parts

Baneberry/Doll’s Eyes*: berries, roots, foliage

Beach Pea (Lathyrus maritimus): consider all parts suspect

Belladona Lily (Amaryllis)*: all parts

Betel Nut Palm*: all parts

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae): foliage, flowers, seed pods

Bittersweet (Solanum celastrus/dulcamera): leaves, berries

Black Locust: bark, sprouts, foliage

Bleeding Heart/Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra) (13): foliage, roots

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria): all parts

Bluebonnet (Lupinus): all parts

Bluegreen Algae (Mycrocystis):all parts

Blue Weed (Zchium vulgare): leaves, stems (D)

Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata): all parts

Bottlebrush (Callistemon): flowers

Bougainvillea: flowers, leaves

Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)*: all parts, leaves (D)

Buckeye Horse Chestnuts (Aesculus): sprouts, roots

Buckthorn (Rhamus spp.): sap, fruit (D)

Burning Bush, European (Euonymus europaes): leaves, fruit

Buttercup, Bermuda (Oxalis cernus): leaves

Buttercup, creeping (Ranunculus): all parts, leaves (D)

Buttonbush (Ceptolanthus occidentalis): leaves

Caladium: all parts

Calla Lily: all parts

Candy Tuft (Iberis): consider all parts suspect

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia): all parts

Carnation/Sweet William/Pinks (Dianthus): all parts

Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens): flowers, leaves, sap

Casava (Euphorbiacea): roots

Castor Bean (Ricinus communis) (5): seeds are fatal!

Cestrum (Cestrum spp.): leafy shoots

Celandine (Chelidonium): consider all parts suspect

Cherry: See Prunus spp.

Cherry Laurel: See prunus Spp.

China Berry Tree (Melia azedarach): berries

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum. A. simplex): foliage

Chinese Lantern (Physalis alkekengi): consider all parts suspect

Christmas Berry/California Holly (Heteromeles arbutifolia): berries, leaves

Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger ): all, esp. leaves (D)

Chrysanthemum/Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum maximum): foliage, flowers

Citrus Fruits (esp. Persian Lime): leaves

Coffee Berry (Rhamnus spp.): sap, fruit (D)

Columbine (Aguilegia): all parts

Common Privet (Ligustrum): black/blue wax-coated berries & leaves

Coral Plant (Euphorbium): all parts

Cow Cockle (Saponaria vaccaria): seeds

Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea): black or blue

Crocus*: all parts

Croton (Euphorbiacea) indoor plants are safe; outdoor plants are toxic

Crown-of-Thorns (Euphorbia spp.): milky sap (D)

Cyclamen: foliage, stems, flowers

Daffodil (Narcissus)*(1): bulbs may be fatal

Daphne/Spurge/Laurel (Laurus nobilis) (15): berries are fatal!

Death Camus (Sygadenus veneous)*: all; roots fatal

Deadly Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)*: all parts

Delphinium (Larkspur annual) (7): all parts

Destroying Angel/Death Cap (Amanita phalloides)*: all parts

Devil’s Ivy: toxic

Dianthus/Pinks/Sweet William/Carnation: all parts

Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane): all parts, esp. sap

Dogwood (Cornus): all parts, esp. sap

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia seguine) (4): stems, leaves

Eggplant (Solanaceae): all except fruit

Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) (24): all, esp. roots; except ripe fruit

Elephant Ears/Taro (Colocasia) (4): all parts including fruit

English Ivy (Hedera helix): berries, all ivies are toxic

Euphorbia/Crown of Thorns/Poinsettia (Spurge) (3): all, milky sap (15)

False Helebore (Veratrum viride & other species): all, roots fatal

Ficus Benjamina/Weeping Fig/Fig: possible irritant

Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata): foliage, latex sap

Fiddle Neck/String of Pearls (Senecio): all parts

Fig (ficus spp.): milky sap (D)

Flax (Linum usitatissimum): all, esp. immature seed pods

Fly Agaric (Fly amanita mushrooms)*: all parts

Four O’Clock (Mirabilis jalapa ): all parts

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)*(12): all parts can be fatal

Gardenia (Rubiaceae): consider all parts suspect

Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine): all parts

Gladiolus: can cause mild nausea

Golden Chain (Laburnum spp.): seeds/pods may be fatal

Grape Ivy/Heart Ivy: all ivies are fatal

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica): all parts

Helebore (Ranunculaceae): all parts

Hemlock/Conium/Cicuta (Tsuga)*(30, 31): all parts

Henbane*: all parts

Holly (Ilex aquifolium, I. opaca, I. vomitoria): leaves, berries

Horse Chestnut (Aesculus): all parts

Horsetail Reeds (Equisetum hyemale): all parts

Huckleberry, Garden (Solanum nigrum): unripe berries, leaves

Hyacinth (garden type not water) (1): foliage, flowers, bulbs can be fatal

Hydrangea*: all parts

Impatiens/Balsam/Touch-Me-Not/Snapweed: all parts

Iris (Iris spp.) (11): underground stems (rhizomes) (D)

Ivy, (Hedera, Senecio spp., Napata spp.): all ivies are toxic

Jack-In-The-Pulpit (Arisaema triphylla) (26): all

Jasmine, Yellow (Jasminum): all parts

Jatropha/Purge Nut/Curcas Bean/Peregrina/Psychic Nut: seeds,oil
Jequirity Bean: toxic

Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum): fruit, leaves

Jessamine/Jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens): berries are fatal!

Jessamine, Night Blooming (Cestrum spp.) (19): leafy shoots

Jimson Weed/Thorn Apple (Datura stramomium)*(32): all parts

Johnson Grass (Sorgum): all parts are toxic

Jonquil (Narcissus jonquilla): toxic

Juniper (Juniperus): all parts

Lady’s Slipper/Moccasin Flower (Paphiopedilum): all parts

Lambkill/Sheep Laurel (Kalmia augustifolia)*: leaves

Lantana Camara/Red Sage (20): foliage, green berries are fatal!

Larkspur (Delphinium) (7): foliage, roots; seeds may be fatal!

Laurel (Primus varieties): all parts are fatal!

Laurel, Australian (Pittosporum spp.) (18): all

Laurel , Mountain (Kalmia) (18): leaves, flowers

Lily, Belladonna (Amaryllis belladonna): bulbs

Lily, Climbing (Gloriosa spp.): all parts

Lily, Crinum (Crinum asiaticum): bulbs

Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus africanus): foliage, bulbs

Lily, Naked Lady (Brunsvigia roses): bulbs

Lily-Of-The-Valley (Convallaria sp.)*(10): all parts

Lily, spider (Hymenocallis americana ): bulbs

Lily, Zephyr (Zephranthes spp.): leaves, bulbs

Lobelia/Cardinal Flower: all parts, fruit (D)

Locoweed*: all parts

Locust, Black (Robinia)pseudo-acacia): all parts

Lupine (Lupinus)*: leaves, pods, esp. seeds

Machineel: all parts

Majesty (Philodendron hastatum): leaves, sap

Marigold (Tagetes): consider all parts suspect

Marigold, Desert (Baileya multiradiata): whole plant

Marijuana: all parts

Matrimony Vine (Lycium helimifolium): leaves, young shoots

May Apple/Mandrake (Podophyllum peltatum)): all parts

Mescal (Peyote)*: all parts

Milkweed (Asclepias): all parts

Mistletoe* (Phorodentron flavescens) (6): berries are fatal!

Moccasin Flower/Lady Slipper (Cypripedium spectabiles): all parts

Mock Orange (Primus caroliniana): all parts

Mock Orange (Philadelphus spp.): fruit

Monkshood (Aconitum ranunculecea)*(8): foliage, esp. seeds & roots

Moonflower (Calonyction spp.): seeds

Moonseed: berries may be fatal

Morning Glory (Ipomea) (27): all parts

Mother-In-Law Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata): toxic

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia): young leaves/shoots are fatal!

Mushrooms & Toadstools (wild types): all parts

Narcissus/Daffodil (1): bulbs can be fatal

Natal Cherry (Solanum): berries

Nectarine: See Prunus Spp.

Nephthytis (Syngonium podophyllum): foliage

Nettle/Stinging Nettle (Urtica): consider all parts suspect

Ngaio (Myoporum laetum): leaves

Nicotiana//Tree Tobacco (wild & cultivated)*: leaves

Nightshade, Black (solanum modiflorum): unripe berries

Nightshade/European Bittersweet (Solanum nigura): all, esp. unripe berries

Oak Tree (Quercus) (23): foliage, acorns

Orchid, Lady Slipper (Cypripedium spp.): hairy stems, leaves (D)

Oleander (Nerium oleander) (2): all parts

Oleander, Yellow (Thevetia peruviana): all parts

Osage, Orange (Maclura pomifera): milky sap

Pansy/Violet (Viola): all parts (OK for tortoises)

Pasque Flower (Anemone patens): young plants, flowers

Peach (Prunus spp.): leaves; seeds: See Prunus Spp.

Pear: See Prunus Spp.

Penny Royal (Hedeoma, Mentha): foliage, flowers

Penstemon family: Digitalis & Scrophularia: consider toxic

Peony (Paeonia): all parts

Peppers (Capsicum): foliage

Periwinkle/Myrtle (Vinca): all parts

Peyote (Mescal): toxic

Pheasant’s Eye/Spring Adonis (Adonis vernalis): consider all parts suspect

Philodendron (Philodendron spp.): all including sap

Pimpernel, Scarlet (Anagallis spp.): all parts

Pinks/Sweet William/Carnation (Dianthus): all parts

PlumSee Prunus Spp.

Pokeweed/Pokeberry (Phytolacca): roots

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) (3): leaves, sap are fatal! (D)

Poison Hemlock (Canium maculatum)*: all parts are fatal!

Poison Ivy/Poison Oak/Poison Sumac (Rhus sp.)*: all parts (D)

Poppy: all except California poppies are dangerous

Potato (Solanaceaae)*: green skin and raw shoots are fatal!

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): leaves

Primrose (Primula): leaves, stems (D)

Privet (Ligustrm): leaves, berries

Prunus Spp. (apricot, bitter almond, cherry, cherry laurel, nectarine, peach,

plum) (22): fleshy fruit edible; all other parts poisonous including seeds

Pyracantha: foliage, fruit

Ranunculus/Creeping Buttercup: all parts

Red Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima): leaves & seeds

Redwood: wood chips poisonous to fish, turtles, other aquatics

Rhododendron (Azalea)*(18): all parts are fatal!

Rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum)*(14): leaves/blades fatal (D); stems edible

Rosary Pea/Jequirity Bean (Ricinum communis)(5): all, seeds (“beans”) fatal!

Rosemary (Romarinus officinalis): leaves of some varieties are poisonous

Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica decora): consider all parts suspect

Russian Thistle (Carduus or Silybum): foliage, flowers

Saffron, Meadow (Colchicum autumnale) (9): leaves

Sage (Salvia): leaves of some varieties are poisonous

Salmon Berry (Rubus): foliage, fruit

Salvia (Sage): the leaves of some varieties are poisonous.

Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis): all parts

Schefflera/Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla): all parts

Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparious): seeds

Scrophularia (Penstemon family): contains cardiac stimulant; consider toxic

Senecio: all parts

Shasta Daisy/Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum maximum): foliage, flowers

Skunk Cabbage (Lysichitum): roots

Snakeroot, White (Eupatorium rugosum): leaves, stems

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum): all parts

Snow-on-the-Mountain (Euphorbia spp.) (3): milky sap (D)

Sour Dock (Rumex acetosa): leaves

Spanish Bayonet (Yucca aloifolia): root

Spider Mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium): foliage, flowers

Squirrel Corn (Dicentra canadensis): all parts

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): all parts when eaten (D)

Star-Of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum) (9): all parts

Star Thistle (Centaurea): consider all parts suspect

Stranomium: all parts

String-of Pearls/Fiddle Neck (Senecio): all parts

Sudan Grass (Sorgum): all parts

Sundew (Droscera): foliage

Sweet Pea (Lathyras odoratus) (28): stems

Tansy (Tanacetum): all parts

Taro/Elephant’s Ear (Calocasia): stems, leaves

Tar Weed (Eriodictyon): foliage, flowers, seed pods

Tiger Lily (Lium tigrinum): all parts

Thornapple (Datura spp.) (32): all parts

Toad Flax (Linaria): foliage

Toadstool: all parts

Tobacco (Nicotiana spp.): all parts

Tomato (Lycopersicon spp.): foliage, vines

Toyon Berry/Christmas Berry (Heteromeles): leaves; berries are toxic

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima): foliage, flowers (D)

Trillium/Wake Robin: foliage

Tulip (Tulipa spp.) (29): bulbs

Trumpet Vine/Trumpet Creeper (Campsis): all parts

Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla): all parts

Verbena (Verbena): foliage, flowers

Venus Flytrap (Dionacea): all parts

Vetch (Vicia): seeds, pods

Vinca/Periwinkle/Myrtle: all parts

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus): foliage, seed pods

Walnut (Julglans spp.): green hull juice (D)

Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata)*: all parts, esp. roots, are fatal!

Wild Blackcherry/Chokecherry/Rum Cherry (Prunus serotina): leaves

Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca): underground roots, foliage

Wisteria: seeds, pods

Yellow Jasmine (Jasminum): all parts

Yellow Oleander (Nerium oleander): all parts, esp. kernels of the fruit

Yellow Star Thistle (Centaurea): foliage, flowers

Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon): foliage, seeds (only stems cooked for humans)

Yew (Taxus)* (21): foliage, flowers, berries are toxic

Yucca aloifolia/Spanish Bayonet: roots

Toxicity Symptoms of Some of the Poisonous Plants Above:




Highfield, A.C. (1988-2000). The Tortoise and Turtle Feeding Manual. Carapace Press, London .

Lewis, W.A. & Elvin-Lewis, P.F. (1977), Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Man’s Health. John Wiley & Sons.

San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society. www.sdturtle.org.

Sunset Books & Sunset Magazine, Eds. (1995). Sunset Western Garden Book. Sunset Publishing Corp.

The Bridge. (June/July/August 1996). “Plants that Poison: the Revised List.”

www.tortoise.org. ( 12/29/00 ). “ Foods to Avoid.”

www.turtlecafe.net. ( 1/3/01 ). “ Edible Landscaping for Turtles & Tortoises,” “ What to Feed Our Russians?”

www.library.thinkquest.org. The Tortoise Treasury. ( 12/29/00 ). “Poisonous Foods.”