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11 Plants You Didn’t Know Could Be Dangerous

Houseplants and outdoor plants bring color and vibrancy to the interior and exterior of your home—but they can also be dangerous if you pick the wrong ones.

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As lovely as they are to look at, tulips are known to cause skin rashes in humans (contact dermatitis) due to the allergen, tulipian. Should your pet ingest one, be on the look out for symptoms including vomiting, depression, diarrhea, hypersalivation, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). If you do notice these, bring your dog or cat to the vet ASAP.

Alternative: Brighten up your windowsill or garden with a sunny sunflower. These long-stemmed flowers are non-toxic to cats and dogs, according to the ASPCA. Is your thumb more black than green? These faux houseplants you literally can’t kill are for you.

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Yew bushes

These evergreen-esque bushes are often used in landscaping for hedges and are commonly used as holiday decorations. But they are deadly, for both humans and animals alike. Ingesting yew needles can cause arrhythmia or cardiac arrest.

Alternative: With its waxy leaves and ruby red flowers, the camellia is a festive replacement. Plus, according to the ASPCA, the camellia is non-toxic to both dogs and cats.

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Castor bean plant

These plants contain ricin, an extremely toxic protein found in castor plant seeds that inhibits protein synthesis. It can be deadly for humans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and pets alike.

Alternative: Like the castor bean plant, alyssum is also a fast-growing, feathery perennial that is non-toxic for dogs and cats, according to the ASPCA.

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Sad to say, but sunny daffodils can be dangerous for both humans and pets. If a person were to eat one, according to the FDA, they can cause vomiting, abdominal cramps, shivering, and sometimes diarrhea. According to the ASPCA, they are toxic to cats and dogs and cause vomiting, salivation, diarrhea; large ingestion cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, and cardiac arrhythmias. (The bulbs are the most poisonous part.) Don’t miss these low-light houseplants that thrive in almost total darkness.

Alternative: Also synonymous with spring, Gerber Daisies are non-toxic for dogs and cats, according to the ASPCA.

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As anyone who saw White Oleander knows, this hardy shrub can be deadly for humans and pets alike. According to the ASPCA, oleander are toxic to cats and dogs and can cause drooling, abdominal pain, diarrhea, colic, and depression.

Alternative: Try magnolia, instead. These gorgeous flowering bushes are non-toxic for dogs and cats, according to the ASPCA.

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Wisteria contains a toxin called wisterin. In humans, wisteria can cause headache, gastroenteritis, dizziness, and confusion. According to the ASPCA, wisteria can cause vomiting (sometimes with blood), diarrhea, and depression in cats and dogs.

Alternative: For a fragrant, non-toxic bloom, try honeysuckle. Like wisteria, this plant can “climb,” and according to the ASPCA, it is safe for cats and dogs.

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Snowdrops can be poisonous for humans and pets. In people, it can cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting if eaten. According to the ASPCA, clinical signs are usually limited to mild or moderate GI upset.

Alternative: According to the ASPCA, orchids (also called moon or moth orchids) are non-toxic to cats and dogs.

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Hyacinth contains calcium oxalate crystals, which are known to cause skin rashes, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. As for cats and dogs, they can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea, occasionally with blood, depression, and tremors if eaten, per the ASPCA.

Alternative: If you crave a purple flowering plant, opt for an African violet instead. They are non-toxic for your pets, according to the ASPCA, they are non-toxic for pets.

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Calla lily

Synonymous with Easter, these flowers are poisonous for people due to oxalic acid, which can cause burning, swelling, and nausea, and diarrhea. According to the ASPCA, they are toxic to both cats and dogs and can cause oral irritation, intense burning, and irritation of mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

Alternative: Opt for these long-stemmed flowers instead. According to the ASPCA, roses are non-toxic to dogs and cats. As for people—just watch out for the thorns.

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These fantastical flowers are poisonous for both people and pets. In humans, it can slow or speed up heart rate, according to Poison Control. According to the ASPCA, foxgloves are toxic to cats and dogs and can cause cardiac arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and cardiac failure.

Alternative: Like foxgloves, snapdragons also have unique vertically-layered blooms. Better yet, according to the ASPCA, they are non-toxic for dogs and cats. Flowers are only one of the potential dangers for your dog hidden in your backyard.

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These gorgeous flowering plants will cause poisonous symptoms when swallowed in large amounts in people, according to Poison Control. It happens more often than you might think, as children sometimes confuse the blooms with honeysuckles and suck on them. Honey from azaleas isn’t safe either, it has earned the nickname “mad honey.” According to the ASPCA, the plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and cardiac failure in dogs and cats.

Alternative: Similar in look to azaleas, hibiscus plants are non-toxic for cats and dogs, according to the ASPCA. And you can use the dried flowers to make a tasty—and safe—tea.

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Emily Shiffer
Emily is a freelance writer and editor from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared on MensHealth.com, WomensHealth.com, Prevention.com, RunnersWorld.com, and more.