You might be wondering whether peace lilies are a safe plant to have in your home – especially if you have children – or if they are dangerous. Are peace lilies toxic to humans? These plants are immensely popular, but before you get one for your home, it’s important to consider the safety aspect.
Peace lilies are toxic to humans, yes. Both the sap and the juices of this plant contain high amounts of oxalates, and these will strip calcium out of the blood. This causes the formation of calcium oxalate crystals. Eating a tiny bit of peace lily might not hurt, but consuming any quantity of this plant can cause mouth swelling and vomiting.
Are Peace Lilies Toxic To Humans?
Peace lilies are toxic to humans, yes. You should not eat any part of a peace lily, whether the flowers or the leaves. In very small quantities, peace lilies are unlikely to be harmful, but overall, the plant is considered quite toxic.
This is concerning, because it is also an extremely popular houseplant, and many people choose to grow these in their homes. If you have young children who are likely to eat parts of the peace lily, you will need to either grow the plant on an unreachable shelf or not have one until your children are older.
You should not leave a peace lily within reach of a child under any circumstances, because it could make them very ill if they ate some of it. Keep peace lilies out of reach at all times.
What Reactions Do Peace Lilies Cause If Eaten?
Peace lilies can cause quite a range of unpleasant reactions. The most immediately noticeable is a burning sensation around the mouth, tongue, lips, and cheeks. Hopefully, this will deter any child that decides to sample the plant, but don’t rely on this.
Ingesting any part of a peace lily could also lead to swelling around the mouth and tongue, and possibly the throat. This may make it hard for the child to breathe. They may feel nauseous or end up vomiting a lot.
It can lead to diarrhea and dribbling as well, as the saliva glands are activated. Someone who has eaten part of a peace lily may find that they cannot speak due to the swelling in the mouth, which can make it hard to express what is wrong.
The peace lily also causes a chemical reaction in the blood. It is full of oxalates, and if these get into a human’s bloodstream, they will start to absorb calcium from the blood and bond with it. This creates calcium oxalate crystals, which are dangerous to people.
Cell membranes will lose their functionality, and the crystals can accumulate in the kidneys and cause damage there. If ingested in large enough quantities, a peace lily could be deadly, although this is unlikely to happen in most situations.
What Makes Peace Lilies Toxic to People?
There are a few things in peace lilies that are not good if consumed, but the major one is the oxalate, because of the effect that this has on the body.
In general, an adult human will manage these effects reasonably well if they have only ingested a small part of the peace lily. They may experience a burning or itching sensation, but they should otherwise be okay.
However, because they are smaller, children are much more vulnerable to poisoning by a peace lily, and also much more likely to consume one. The shiny green leaves may look very tempting, and the beautiful flowers could attract curious mouths.
Peace lilies see many children hospitalized each year, and although the effects should be reversible, it is important to keep peace lilies well out of reach. Once your child is old enough to understand, explain the dangers of a peace lily to them.
You should still keep the peace lily out of reach even after this point, but it is a good idea to talk to them about why they should not touch or eat it.
Are Peace Lilies True Lilies?
No, peace lilies are not true lilies, but don’t let that decrease your concerns about their safety. Although true lilies are highly toxic and peace lilies are usually less so, it is still important to treat them as poisonous plants.
True lilies come from a family called Liliaceae, while peace lilies come from a family called Araceae (Arum). This family is generally a lot less toxic, but should still be treated with caution, especially if you have children or pets.
Will Peace Lilies Irritate The Skin?
Few people will find that peace lilies irritate their skin, but it could happen, especially if your skin is sensitive. It is a good idea to minimize how much you handle this plant.
When you are pruning the plant, consider wearing some thin gloves to protect your skin from the plant’s sap, which you will inevitably come into contact with. Whether or not you opt to wear the gloves, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after you have finished touching the peace lily.
Don’t touch your mouth or eyes just after handling your peace lily, even if you aren’t pruning or repotting it. Although it is unlikely to irritate your skin just through a little contact, you should still minimize this risk.
What Should I Do If Someone Has Ingested Some Peace Lily?
Even with the best of care, accidents happen sometimes. If someone has eaten some of a peace lily, you will need to take swift action, especially if it is a child. Children are a lot more susceptible to poisoning than adults are.
Call emergency services, and try to check how much of the plant has been ingested. Remove any leaves or flowers from the child’s mouth as quickly as you can, and take the plant away. You should then start trying to assess how bad the symptoms are.
Your child may only experience a burning sensation around the mouth, but it is still best to get them checked over. Even if you don’t think they need an ambulance, you should still take them to the hospital to ensure that the plant has not done any lasting damage. You may wish to take a sample of the plant with you.
Even minor symptoms from eating a peace lily should result in a visit to a medical professional to get checked over. More major symptoms such as kidney damage may not have obvious signs, and the person who ate the plant will need to be assessed by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Will A Peace Lily Cause Vomiting?
Eating a peace lily can cause vomiting, yes. The stomach may react to the toxic substance by ejecting it, and this may help to reduce the amount that gets absorbed into the bloodstream.
If the person who has eaten the peace lily is vomiting, get advice from emergency services before attempting any form of treatment from home. You should not try and stop the vomiting unless instructed to do so by emergency services.
Can I Still Grow A Peace Lily In My Home?
This depends on your circumstances and your personal feelings. If you have a young child, it may be better to choose safe plant options such as a peperomia, a spider plant, or string of pearls. There are many non-toxic houseplants that are beautiful and will happily grow indoors, so you don’t have to have a peace lily.
However, you may feel that you can keep the plant out of reach effectively enough, or that your child is unlikely to take much of an interest in it. This is an assessment that only you can make, but remember to prioritize safety.
If you wait a few years, your child will be older and you may be able to grow a peace lily more safely then. However, if you are really keen to have one, take the double precaution of teaching your child not to touch it, and keeping it firmly out of reach.
Do not grow peace lilies in your child’s room, even if there is a high shelf for it to stand on. If the plant fell or your child somehow managed to reach it, they could get hurt. Ideally, if you really want a peace lily, you should put it in a room that your child is rarely in.
Even older children should be warned away from touching peace lilies. They may understand that they should not eat one, but they could get the sap on their hands without realizing it, or they might be tempted into trying some anyway.
The safest option is to keep peace lilies away from kids, whether visitors or your own or not have one at all until your house is child-free.
Peace lilies are toxic to humans. An adult may not suffer any ill effects from eating them in small quantities, but a child could get very sick. Both may experience burning skin, swelling, vomiting, and kidney issues if they consume peace lilies in any noticeable quantity.