Candelabra-cactus (Common name)

General Poisoning Notes:

Candelabra-cactus (Euphorbia lactea) is an indoor ornamental plant. The latex (juice) of the plant contains an intense irritant that causes problems when the latex comes in contact with mucous membranes and eyes. Severe eye problems have also been experimentally produced in dogs. Ingestion should be avoided by children and family pets.

References:

  • Crowder, J. I., Sexton, R. R. 1964. Keratoconjunctivitis resulting from the sap of candelebra cactus and the pencil tree. Arch. Opthalmol., 72: 476-484.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Euphorbia lactea Haw.
Vernacular name(s):
candelabra-cactus
Scientific family name:
Euphorbiaceae
Vernacular family name:
spurge

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Euphorbia lactea

References:

  • Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada, Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.
  • Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.
  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.
  • Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.
  • Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

Plant or plant parts used in or around the home.

References:

  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063. 94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or Illustration:

Images: Candelabra-cactus - Google search

Toxic Parts:

  • latex

References:

  • Crowder, J. I., Sexton, R. R. 1964. Keratoconjunctivitis resulting from the sap of candelebra cactus and the pencil tree. Arch. Opthalmol., 72: 476-484.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Humans

General Symptoms of Poisoning:

Notes on Poisoning:

The milky sap of candelabra-cactus contains an irritant that can cause intense burning and keratoconjunctivitis if a drop gets into the eyes. In one case, a man felt intense pain in his eye followed by mild conjunctival hyperemia and punctate staining of the cornea. Within 24 h the patient had copious mucous discharge, marked conjunctival edema, swollen lids, and severe pain in the eye. A few days later the eye began to heal, with complete recovery after a couple of weeks. Experiments on dogs resulted in similar symptoms, with eventual clearing of the eyes (Crowder and Sexton 1964).

References:

  • Crowder, J. I., Sexton, R. R. 1964. Keratoconjunctivitis resulting from the sap of candelebra cactus and the pencil tree. Arch. Opthalmol., 72: 476-484.

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