Ask a Question forum: Common houseplant allergies

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Name: Katharine Clark
Brooklyn, NY
May 28, 2017 9:34 PM CST

I am suffering from a rash from one of my houseplants and I am trying to figure out which plant is the most likely source. Most of my plants are non-toxic and I would just like to identify the plant that is giving me a continual reaction. It's either a dieffenbachia, wandering jew plant, or peace lily. Of course it could be any plant, but I wondered if you knew which plants cause rashes or immune reactions just by being around them or light touch.

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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May 28, 2017 10:08 PM CST
Maybe the Dieffenbachia. Found this page about its toxicity:
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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Garden Sages Plant Identifier
May 28, 2017 10:57 PM CST
Dieffenbachia would be my guess also.
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Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
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May 28, 2017 11:20 PM CST
I have all three of your plants, and none of them bother me, but we're all different. If I had to pick one, it would be the Dieffenbachia too. It is toxic and it's possible just touching it could give you a rash if you're allergic to it.
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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
May 29, 2017 1:22 PM CST
The sap of Dieffenbachia definitely is known as a mild skin irritant for many people.
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
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May 31, 2017 8:20 AM CST
Were you propagating and cutting into plants, or just touching unbroken plant surfaces? If the latter is giving you a reaction, I also suspect the Dief first. It has calcium oxalate, well known for its' irritation when put into mouth, but also...

"It also contains the Dieffenbachia saponins, alkaloids and glycosides, which can lead to heart rhythm disorders, paralysis, or nausea. When cleaning the blades, the calcium oxalate needles can be shot down and get in the face or even in the eyes trigger and there a chemical burn of the conjunctiva."

The sap inside all 3 of those plants will cause a rash (like poison ivy) on my skin, as I know from unfortunate experience. I spend a lot of time going in/out to wash my hands when working with Tradescantias, which I love & collect.
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[Last edited by purpleinopp - May 31, 2017 8:21 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1460127 (6)
Name: Katharine Clark
Brooklyn, NY
Jun 4, 2017 2:08 PM CST
Thanks, everyone! I seem to be doing fine by not touching the Dieffenbachia. I do think that the allergy is to that plant.

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