Are Nephthytis Plants Toxic To Pets Or Humans: Expert Tell You

Nephthytis plants are versatile and beautiful, but their toxicity levels pose potential risks to pets and humans. Learn more here.

The Beauty and Versatility of Nephthytis Plants

Nephthytis plants, also known as arrowhead vine or twin arrow, are widely grown for their decorative foliage. They thrive in low to medium light and high humidity, making them ideal houseplants. The glossy, arrow-shaped leaves emerge on long petioles from creeping rhizomes with new growth producing leaves year-round. Nephthytis comes in different colors ranging from solid green varieties to green leaves marked with white and yellow variegation.
More comprehensive information and care guidelines can be read here.

nephthytis, humans, timelapse photo of people passing the street
Photo by mauro mora / Unsplash

Understanding the Toxicity Levels of Nephthytis Plants

While nephthytis plants are generally considered non-toxic, they do contain small amounts of calcium oxalates in all parts.Calcium oxalates act as a natural defense against herbivores but can irritate the digestive system if ingested.The extent of toxicity depends on several factors:

Amount consumed: Large quantities of nephthytis plant material are more likely to cause negative effects.

Age: Children and pets are more susceptible to toxicity due to their smaller size and developing systems.

Individual sensitivity: Some people, especially those with allergies or sensitive skin, may react even to small amounts.

The main risks from nephthytis plants are mild irritation and inflammation:

  • Mouth irritation: Calcium oxalates can cause a burning or itchy sensation in the mouth. This is most common in children and pets that chew on plant parts.

  • Gastrointestinal irritation: Ingesting large amounts can result in stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting due to irritation of the digestive tract lining.

  • Dermatitis: Rarely, direct skin contact with crushed nephthytis plant tissues may trigger irritant dermatitis in sensitive people, causing redness, itching and inflammation.

To minimize risks, keep nephthytis plants out of reach of children and pets.Wear gloves when repotting or handling plant parts and wash hands thoroughly afterwards.Remove any plant material from the mouth immediately.

In general, properly cared for nephthytis plants present minimal toxicity concerns for most people when used as ornamental houseplants.

nephthytis, humans, man and woman in white shirt
Photo by Levi Stute / Unsplash

Effects of Nephthytis Plant Consumption on Pets

Pets that ingest parts of nephthytis plants may experience a variety of symptoms due to the irritation caused by calcium oxalates. The most common effects include:

  • Vomiting: Pets may vomit soon after ingesting nephthytis plant parts in order to remove the irritating particles from their digestive system. The vomiting may persist for several hours.

  • Drooling: Excessive salivation or drooling is common as the mouth attempts to remove any remaining irritants. The mouth may remain irritate for some time after ingestion.

  • Diarrhea: Gastrointestinal irritation can cause loose stool or diarrhea which helps flush the calcium oxalates from the intestines. Diarrhea typically resolves within 12-24 hours.

  • Loss of appetite: Pets may refuse to eat or drink for a period of time after nephthytis plant ingestion while their digestive tract heals. Appetite typically returns as the symptoms subside.

  • Swelling: Chewing on nephthytis plants can cause the lips, tongue and mouth to swell due to irritation and inflammatory responses. The swelling tends to peak around 6-12 hours after ingestion.

In severe cases with large amounts of nephthytis plant material consumed, pets may also experience:

  • Pain: Abdominal pain due to severe gastrointestinal irritation.

  • Vomiting blood: Indicating more serious injury to the digestive tract.

Lethargy: Caused by discomfort, loss of fluids and electrolyte imbalance due to vomiting and diarrhea.

Most cases of nephthytis plant ingestion by pets are mild and self-limiting. However, any vomiting blood, excessive lethargy or reluctance to eat/drink for over 24 hours warrants prompt veterinary evaluation. With proper care, affected pets usually make a full recovery within 1-3 days. As a precaution, keep nephthytis plants out of reach of pets.

nephthytis, pets, brown long coated dog on brown wooden floor
Photo by Łukasz Rawa / Unsplash

Potential Risks of Nephthytis Plants for Humans

Unlike pets, nephthytis plants generally pose minimal toxicity risks for humans. However, ingestion or direct contact with plant parts can cause minor irritation in some cases:

  • Mouth irritation: Chewing or biting nephthytis plant parts can release calcium oxalates that irritate the mouth and cause a burning sensation on the lips and tongue.This irritation typically subsides within 30-60 minutes after removing the plant material from the mouth.

  • Gastrointestinal irritation: While unlikely at typical exposure levels, swallowing large pieces of nephthytis plants may irritate the digestive tract lining and cause mild stomach upset. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. These effects are usually mild and short-lived.

  • Irritant dermatitis: Rarely,direct skin contact with crushed nephthytis plant tissues may lead to irritation, redness and itching. This is more likely to occur in people with sensitive skin or existing skin conditions like eczema. Washing the affected skin with soap and water can help remove remaining particles and alleviate symptoms.

  • Eye irritation: Caustic plant sap or broken leaf pieces may cause temporary discomfort if they come in contact with the eyes. Symptoms resemble those of minor eyestrain and generally subside after washing out the eyes thoroughly with water.

Overall, research suggests that properly cared for nephthytis plants pose negligible safety risks to people in a typical indoor setting. Most exposures result in either no effects or mild, transient irritation that does not require treatment.

As a precaution, however, the following tips can help minimize potential risks:

  • Wear gloves while repotting nephthytis plants or handling damaged leaves
  • Wash hands thoroughly after touching plant parts
  • Keep plants out of reach of young children and pets.

When handled responsibly, nephthytis plants can be enjoyed for their ornamental and decor purposes with little concern for toxicity to human owners.

nephthytis, pets, grayscale photo of cat on womans chest
Photo by Silvana Carlos / Unsplash

More Helpful Guide

Frequently Asked Question

What is the optimal humidity level for a nephthytis plant?

Ideal temperature is 60-80°F. Avoid cold drafts.

What is the proper soil mix for a nephthytis plant?

Water when the top inch of soil is dry. Allow the soil to partially dry between waterings.

How often should you fertilize a nephthytis plant?

Fertilize monthly in spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

How often should you water a nephthytis plant?

Signs of underwatering: drooping, yellowing leaves. Overwatering: dropping leaves, brown spots on leaves.

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