Zebrina pendula (wandering jew)

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Maisha, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. Maisha

    Maisha Member

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    I have a wandering jew plant and I am wondering if this plant is toxic to kids or animals. I have been looking high and low for this answer and can't seem to find an answer. Thanks.
     
  2. T. Shane Freeman

    T. Shane Freeman Active Member

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    From what I remember, Wandering Jews are slightly toxic and prolonged contact with skin may cause slight irritation. I suppose that such toxicity could be harmful to any living organism if ingested in large enough amounts, but typically the bitter taste of such leaves is a very effective deterrant. Different scientific groups have released many toxicity reports over the years and the majority of them sound far worse than they really are.

    As a sidenote, few may realize that Poinsettias are also toxic. One myth that follows the poinsettia is that the slightest nibble can be fatal. I have read (meaning that my numbers could be slightly inaccurate) that a 50 pound child would have to eat 1.25 pounds of bracts (over 500 leaves) to exceed experimental dosages. It is highly unlikely that anyone would eat these bitter tasting leaves, especially that many. 500 leaves would amount to approximately 10 mature 6" potted plants. I would like to know what parent would allow their child to eat 10 plants while visiting the local greenhouse!

    Now that I'm done venting....................I hope that you found this interesting!

    T. Shane Freeman
     
  3. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    re: Poinsettia toxicity; Poinsettia lacks the irritant "diterpenes" that is common in other Euphorbias. Ingesting the plant may produce stomach upset, the milky juice may irritate the skin. There is only one reported death from the plant in Hawaii in 1919. - from pg254-255, Common poisonous plants and mushrooms of north america - Timber press

    As for my thoughts, I am under the impression that the plant itself is not fatally toxic of itself, the milky sap may be an irritant but, the chemicals used to propogate and control the growth (abnormally bushy and short when blooming) of the plants to help time their "flowering" are very toxic indeed, hence the persistent warnings of the plants toxicity. Better safe than sorry of course, don't eat Poinsettias but, in general don't eat any houseplants or shrubs in the landscape until you are certain they are safe.

    Perhaps Daniel M. or Douglas J. can provide some good old fashioned University research results or reports to give us a once and for all on this topic?
     
  4. Chris Klapwijk

    Chris Klapwijk Active Member 10 Years

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    Tradescantia albifora may produce dermatitis, Zebrina pendula is considered to be non-toxic.

    For more info on Poinsettia toxicity, see this page on the Society of American Florists website.

    Paul is quite right in suggesting caution, though.

    One commonly used chemical to control growth is N-dimethylaminosuccinamic acid, aka daminozide, which itself is quite harmless.
    Daminozide allows commercial growers to produce for example lilies in full bloom, but at only about 30cm (1') tall.

    However, Unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine (UDMH) is a contaminant of commercial daminozide and a metabolite of daminozide which is formed in the body, during food processing. UDMH is a highly toxic rocket fuel.
     
  5. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    good link Chris, I think that makes it crystal clear once and for all. as for regulators I was thinking of B-nine, kenoprine(sp?) and methoprine (sp?) as possible toxic nasties, any info?
     
  6. Chris Klapwijk

    Chris Klapwijk Active Member 10 Years

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    Daminozide: trade names include Alar, Aminozide, B-995, B-Nine, Dazide, Kylar, SADH.

    Methoprene is a slightly to practically nontoxic compound. It is a compound which mimics the action of an insect growth regulation hormone. It is used as an insecticide because it interferes with the normal maturation process. In a normal life cycle, an insect goes from egg to larva, to pupa, and eventually to adult. Methoprene artifically stunts the insects' development, making it impossible for insects to mature to the adult stages, and thus preventing them from reproducing.
    Trade names include Altosid, Apex, Diacan, Dianex, Kabat, Minex, Pharorid, Precor, ZR-515.
    Methoprene is used to combat, among other things, West Nile virus.

    Kinoprene is a juvenile hormone insecticide similar to Methoprene.
     
  7. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    great info Chris!
     
  8. Did anyone answer the "Original" question?

    I was curious, if anyone really answered the "ORIGINAL QUESTION??"

    Very curious to the answer!
     
  9. Chris Klapwijk

    Chris Klapwijk Active Member 10 Years

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    My original reply: "Tradescantia albifora may produce dermatitis, Zebrina pendula is considered to be non-toxic." did in fact answer that question.
    Both of these plants are known as wandering jews.
     

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