Dumb Cane or Dieffenbachia - A Dangerous Plant

Dumb Cane or Dieffenbachia - A Dangerous Plant?

Posted by: Abdul Haseeb in Facebook

This plant is very common at our houses, gardens, parks and offices (popular as indoor & outdoor plant). The plant (Dumb Cane or Dieffenbachia) is now proven to be dangerous, so, please take care!

I know that the leaf of this plant causes itching if its sap (milk) touches your skin. But there are more dangerous facts! Read the details below.

May be useful for you. You better believe it.

Please read below.
One of my friends almost lost her daughter who put a piece of the leaf of this plant in her mouth and her tongue swelled to the point of suffocation. This is one plant but there are others with the same characteristics of coloring. Those are also poisonous and we should get rid of them. Please watch out for our children. As we all leave our children at home in the hands of a nanny, we should give them a safe environment where they can play .

Name: Dumb Cane or Dieffenbachia

"This plant that we have in our homes and offices is extremely dangerous!

This plant is common in Rwanda. It is a deadly poison, most specially for the children. It can kill a kid in less than a minute and an adult in 15 minutes. It should be uprooted from gardens and taken out of offices. If touched, one should never touch his/her eyes; it can cause partial or permanent blindness. Please alert your friends. Share this if u Like ...

What does Wikipedia says about this plant? The following text and images were taken from Widipedia.

Dieffenbachia is a genus of tropical plants in the Family Araceae noted for their patterned leaves. Members of this genus are popular as houseplants because of their tolerance for shade.

The common name is "dumb cane" due to its poisoning effect on the throat due to raphides. The dieffenbachia was named by Heinrich Wilhelm Schott, the director of the Botanical gardens in Vienna, to honor his head gardener Joseph Dieffenbach (1796–1863).

Favorable conditions for houseplants

Dieffenbachia plants can grow outdoors in tropical climates, but specimens kept as houseplants must be kept indoors during most of the year outside the tropics. Temperatures below about 10˚C (40˚F) can kill the plant.

The plant needs light but filtered sunlight through a window is usually sufficient. When the plant is brought home from the nursery, it will likely need repotting. The plant needs moderately moist soil. The soil should be fertilized with either regular liquid fertilizing or fertilizer pellets or spiky spikes. 

Leaves will periodically roll up and fall off to make way for new leaves. Yellowing of the leaves is generally a sign of problematic conditions, such as a nutrient deficiency in the soil. Dieffenbachia responds well to hot temperatures and dry climates.

Other uses

At Brazil the plant is said to ward against "negative energies" and "evil eye, etc. Because of this, it's commonly placed on a "seven lucky herbs" vase, along with common rue, Capsicum annuum, snake plant, basil, rosemary and Petiveria


The cells of the Dieffenbachia plant contain needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals called raphides. If a leaf is chewed, these crystals can cause a temporary burning sensation and erythema. In rare cases, edema of tissues exposed to the plant have been reported. Mastication and ingestion generally result in only mild symptoms.With both children and pets, contact with dieffenbachia (typically from chewing) can cause a host of unpleasant symptoms, including oral irritation, excessive drooling, and localized swelling.However, these effects are rarely life-threatening. In most cases, symptoms are mild, and can be successfully treated with analgesic agents, antihistamines,or medical charcoal.Gastric evacuation or lavage is "seldom" indicated. Jennifer S. Boyle, MD, PharmD, and Christopher P Holstege, MD, note that, "In a large retrospective study of 188 patients with plant oxalate exposure, all cases were determined to be minor and all resolved with minor or no treatment".) They also note that, "In patients with exposure to toxic plants, 70% are children younger than 5 years".

Potentialy lethal

Development of aorto-esophageal fistula, a severe life threatening complication, has been reported after the ingestion of a dieffenbachia leaf in a suicide attempt

Note: The above article and images were published here to inform all who are plant lovers and those who have Dumb Cane or Dieffenbachia plants in their houses and gardens. The author does not claim any copyright property of the above materials.

I can recall that my mother used to have this plant before. The leaves were so strong and full of life though seldom being exposed to sunlight. We do not have the idea about its toxic attributes but I'm thankful that nobody among us were victimized with it. I haven't seen any of these variety in our garden since the time my mother went back to our hometown Dumaguete City. But I guess this bit of information will alarm those plant-lovers to take much caution in handling with this variety, especially if you have little kids who love to pick petals and plants around.

Can you share your thoughts or ideas about this plant? Please feel free to post it in the comment box below.

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About lamberto inquig, jr.

a simple and yet full of sense of humor guy who loves to travel and learn more knowledge in the ICT
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  1. Lic, this is a good topic for knowing the character of this plant. We have this in our home, so I want to show this to my wife, but I look for the portuguese translation, but could not find it in the article. Can you show me how to have this in portugues language.


  2. This is the Portuguese translation of the heading title: Cane burro ou Dieffenbachia - Uma Planta Dangerous

    Use the Translate box to translate the whole article into Portuguese.

  3. Nice post.Hoping that the Portuguese translation made available together with the post.And the result will be genuine content, not the mere shadow of an original one.It is important that translation be written in a foreign language since it helps one to get acquainted with the thoughts, traditions, principles and actions of the people from the region.