Plants That Are Poisonous to Pets & Fish

Written by carolyn barton
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Many plants commonly found in homes and yards are poisonous to pets and fish. Some plants cause mild discomfort, whereas others will cause death. Knowing which plants are a danger and taking steps to avoid having them near your pets is the first step in preventing accidental poisonings. However, this is not a complete list of the plants that may be toxic. An extended list of such plants can be found in the References.

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Daffodils are bright, trumpet-shaped flowers that are popular in many yards. Narcissus and hyacinth plants are in the same family and are also toxic. The bulb is the only part of the plant that is actually toxic, and it will cause nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. In some extreme cases, death can occur.

Elephant Ear

The elephant ear plant gets its name from its very large leaves that resemble the shape of an elephant's ear. They are tropical plants that grow well in warm, sunny locations and are often found in yards in southern regions. The entire plant is toxic to both humans and animals, and will cause burning and intense irritation of the mouth and throat if consumed. Death has occurred in cases where oral irritation caused swelling that blocked air passages.


Monkshood is found growing outdoors predominately in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 7b to 9a. It produces clusters of small purple flowers. It grows in areas of light sun and partial shade, and is known to attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. The entire plant will cause irritation in sensitive individuals, but the roots will cause digestive problems such as nausea and vomiting. Nervousness and overexcitement are other symptoms of ingestion of monkshood roots.


Azaleas are a variety of Rhododendrons and are a flowering shrub that is popular in home landscapes. The plant features large dark green leaves that are leathery to the touch and blooms that vary in colour according to the variety. All varieties are highly toxic to both humans and animals if ingested. The plant will cause nausea, vomiting and breathing difficulties. Coma and death are also possible in severe cases.


Jasmine is a tropical plant that produces small white flowers that have a strong, sweet fragrance. There are several different types of jasmine, and the plant is capable of reaching 10 to 15 feet in height. The plant produces berries that are toxic if ingested and will cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea; the nervous system may also be affected. Ingestion has been fatal in some cases.


Mistletoe is a Christmas tradition that results in many kisses when people meet under a hanging sprig; it is found in many homes during the holidays. It grows on the branches of some trees. The berries of the mistletoe are extremely toxic and are fatal to both humans and animals.

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