Skip to main content

Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions

Simple keyword search (one or two words only)

 


BRIEF: Could you give me some information about Peace lilies?


QUESTION:
We have a plant of thae spathiphyllum species (AKA Peace Lilly) , and I recall that somewhere I had read that the flower itself can be poisonous to children. I can't find any information on the web regarding this. I would appreciate your knowledge. We have 2 small children, and one is ill with an unknown allergy of some sort.

ANSWER:

Spathiphyllum, like so many house plants, contains microscopic calcium oxide needles known as raphides. When the plant is chewed, these needles, often in conjunction with compounds in the plants' sap, causes painful swelling and inlamation of the lips, throat and tongue. This can also happen if very tender skin touches broken or, occasionally, intact leaves. (I am not sure if that is the case with Peace Lily). In addition, people can be allergic to these plants, or to about anything, I guess. I am not a physician, and could not tell what was bothering your child over the internet if I were. It wouldn't hurt to caution him or her about eating or touching these plants. The reason house plants stay attractive and shiny and nice-looking is that the have powerful defenses to protect them from insects, pets and...curious children. They aren't going to kill anybody (unless breathing passages get blocked by swelling, which is rare and never reported for peace lily, to my knowledge), but can be a pain if used as a snack.