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Is This Palm Tree Looking Plant Poisonous?

Ask the Expert: What is my plant and is it poisonous?

It looks like a tiny palm tree with various stems.
It is a house plant. Janelle

Parlor Palm

Chinese Evergreen chinese evergreen

Dumbcane Dumbcane

Schefflera schefflera

Dieffenbachia (Photo From Berneckers) photo from Bernecker’s Nursery


  1. Janelle,

    I have placed a photography of a parlor palm above. If your plant looks similar to this, I assume you have a Chamaedorea elegans or a parlor palm which are not poisonous to cats or dogs

    It would help to have a picture of the plant. You can email at jadams@flowershopnetwork.com.

  2. Janelle says:

    Ask the Expert: What is my plant and is it poisonous?

    It looks very much like Hosta, but it is a house plant. It has broad leaves that are light green with a section down the middle of the leaf that is white. It came in a planter from the florist. I work in a preschool around small children that might eat plants is the reason I ask if it is poisonous.

  3. Janelle,

    Take a look at the photos I uploaded. Does your plant look similar to any of them. I am particularly concerned if it looks like the dumb cane. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia) can cause swelling of the throat if ingested and should be kept away from young children.

    Schefflera has a very low toxicity rating and usually only causes a mild skin irritation from the sap.

    Chinese Evergreen sap can cause skin irritation and a burning sensation if eaten.

    Please let me know if this helps.

  4. Janelle says:

    The first plant looks just like the parlor palm – the second one that looks like hosta does not look like any of the pictures. The leaves are a lighter green and not as speckled as the dumbcane, however, it looks closest to the dumbcame.

  5. Dumb canes come in a few different varieties. I have added another picture above. Does it look more like it? It is a different kind of dieffenbachia.

  6. Janelle says:

    Yes, that looks exactly like it.

  7. Janelle,

    This dieffenbachia is poisonious, so you might not want it in your preschool.

  8. Janelle says:

    Thank you for the information. You have been very helpful. I have a few more house plants to identify, if you can help. They are all tropical looking.
    1. broad, dark green leaves with red veins and a lighter green color through the middle, perched at the top of stems. 2. Something between a spider plant with no babies and an aloe plant. It has one stem through the middle and long skinny leaves that look like a water fountain. The leaves are green in color with a slight edge of red. 3. The leaves come up sort of like a mother-in-law’s tongue, the leaves are smaller and rounded at the top with bright yellow mixed with green – some with the yellow center, some with the yellow edge. Can you please help? This is my second request on this, but perhaps you didn’t receive the other. Thanks again.

  9. Janelle,

    It is hard to identify plants without seeing them. So based on description only I believe #1 could be some kind of kalanchoe, #2 could be a ribbon plant or dracaena marginata, and the last one is probably a different variety of a mother-in-law tongue plant (Sansavieria). If you could email pictures to jadams@flowershopnetwork.com, I could make a better identification.

  10. Janelle says:

    I have identified my three tropical looking plants. If you would tell me if they are poisonous, I would appreciate it very much. 1 is the Prayer Plant/Red Maranta, 2 is the Red Edge Dracaena Marginata, and 3 is the Banana Croton. Thank you.

  11. Janelle,

    I didn’t even think about the Maranta. I am so used to looking at pictures to access the deeply stored knowledge in my brain that I sometimes don’t concentrate on the descriptions.

    The Maranta as far as I know is not poisonous to humans , dogs or cats.

    The Red Edge Dracaena as far as I know are not harmful to people but may cause problems with dogs and cats. I personally have Dracaena around my dogs but they usually are not interested in it.

    I don’t find the Banana Croton on any poison list for humans or dogs but I do see it on the cat list.

    Hope this helps.

  12. Janelle says:

    Thank you. You have been a big help!

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