Is a Eucalyptus Tree Poisonous?

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Is a Eucalyptus Tree Poisonous?
(Murray (4) image by Frédéric GUILLET from Fotolia.com)

Eucalyptus trees, or Eucalyptus cinerea, have poisonous bark and leaves that cause a skin irritation if touched and stomach pain if ingested. If eaten in large amounts, a toxic reaction can occur. Eucalyptus oil is considered extremely toxic if a large amount is swallowed.

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Eucalyptus trees, which are also commonly known as gum or silver dollar trees, are native to Australia. They are ornamental, woody shrubs and have four-petaled flowers and capsules of multi-seeded fruit. The toxic ingredients of the eucalyptus tree are eucalyptus oil and cyanogenic glycoside.

Leaf or Bark Ingestion

If the leaf or bark of a eucalyptus tree is ingested in a small amounts, symptoms can include vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea. In large amounts, the reaction is toxic and can lead to coma or death.

Leaf or Bark Skin Exposure

If skin touches the leaf or bark of a eucalyptus tree, symptoms may include redness, burning and irritation. Skin irritation is minor and lasts only a few minutes.

Eucalyptus Oil Ingestion

If a large amount of eucalyptus oil is swallowed, various symptoms can include shallow or rapid breathing, difficulty swallowing, pinpoint pupils, a burning sensation in the mouth, rapid or weak heartbeat, muscle weakness, drowsiness, unconsciousness, dizziness, seizures, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Treatment for Ingestion

According to the website Drugs.com, medical help should be sought immediately if eucalyptus oil, leaves or bark is ingested. The person should not induce vomiting unless medically told to do so. The National Poison Control Center can be reached at (800) 222-1222.

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