Saturday, July 24, 2010

Handle with Care: African Fire Sticks

African Fire Sticks (Euphorbia tirucalli)  Photo from Wikipedia
Common Names: African Fire Sticks, Pencil Tree, Milk Bush
 The plant Euphorbia tirucalli recently sent Pastor Rick Warren to the emergency room.  Read the article that describes what happened.  If you happen to have this in your garden or will come close to this plant in the future - be informed that this plant can be dangerous if it is made to "bleed". 

Inside the stick-like branches is corrosive and extremely toxic milky sap.  It can cause severe pain and detrimental effects on the skin and eyes on contact and fatal when ingested.  I would say that this is not safe to have around children.  If you really want to have it in your garden, take extra precaution when handling it.

Beauty is deceptive.  Get to know the plants in your garden.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah. I just got me a second Helping of this one in my eyes. Hey, if you don't know the plant is dangerous it takes two encounters to figure out what happened. For me, both times: excruciating, incapacitating pain for four hours. Extreme pain for the next two followed by very, very painful for two more. It's been 10 Hours now and my eyes only hurt. Man, what a relief. This ordeal started about 90 minutes after trimming my plant. At that time I had already washed my hands a couple of times but I could still see some dirt discoloration one my hand I attributed to sap. If only I'd known what that sap can do I wouldn't have wasted this day and one on a prior date. The first event I was so dead-on-my-feet tired that after a couple of hours I passed out and when I later awoke was inbetter shape. Well, time to get out the flame thrower. Bye bye euphorbia...

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