Last Updated on October 26, 2022 by Griselda M.
Are Elephant Ears toxic? Stay with us and find out the real truth about this plant.
Elephant ears are tropical perennial plants that are grown mostly because of their attractive, heart- or arrow-shaped leaves with decorative veining, rather than their flowers. Such leaves are very reminiscent of the ears of this large animal, hence the name of the plant.
Indoor plants play many useful roles in our home environment, and most provide visual interest to the home and purify the air. Most of them are edible or have some medical purpose, but don’t be fooled because some houseplants are known to be poisonous. Many wonders are Elephant Ears toxic. Therefore, keep reading and find out the answer.
About The Plant
Before we answer the question of the day “are Elephant Ears toxic”, let us first introduce you to this beauty.
The Elephant ear belongs to the genus Colocasia, it is a tuberous, frost-tender perennial that originates from the tropics of Asia. We must not forget to mention that this interesting name is common for several species in three plant genera, namely Colocasia, Alocasia, and Xanthosoma.
Since these are plants that are accustomed to wet areas with the filtered sun of a tropical forest, we can say that they will grow well in moist soils as well as in partial shade. They will also thrive in the garden bed, as long as they receive regular moisture and don’t dry out. So keep an eye on them regularly during these hot summer days.
As for Hardiness Zones, this plant can be left outside all year round and treated as a perennial only when growing in zones 7 to 11. If you plan to grow it in colder regions, the rules are different because Elephant Ears are usually treated as annuals and discarded at the end of the growing season.
These fast-growing plants will achieve their full size within two months, and can eventually reach lengths of 3 feet on top of 3- to 7-foot stems. Their leaves can reach 3 feet long and 2 feet wide when grown in warmer climates such as tropical. When it comes to colder climates, they will remain smaller but still have impressive leaves whose colors can range from lime green to almost black.
Now that we’ve taken a closer look at this amazing plant, it’s time to answer the question “are Elephant Ears toxic”. So let’s get to the point.
Question Of The Day: Are Elephant Ears Toxic?
Did you know that this plant serves as a major food source for many countries in Asia? It is, namely, a major food crop for both humans and farm animals. Interestingly, Elephant Ears are a traditional dish consumed in Hawaiian luaus, and we should not skip mentioning that the corms form the basis for Poi, one of the most popular Hawaiian dishes.
The Elephant Ears plant contains calcium oxalate, or oxalic acid, the same toxin found in rhubarb and Dieffenbachia leaves. Since this chemical compound contains sharp crystals, many are wondering if are Elephant Ears toxic. – The answer is yes.
All parts of these plants are considered toxic to humans and animals, and in addition, can cause serious illness and even death if consumed in excessively large amounts.
So, what’s going on here? How is it even possible that something so poisonous can be a major source of food for thousands of people? This plant is not poisonous only when fully cooked, so any form of consumption in its raw form should be avoided. During the heat treatment process, the above crystals break down, and the plant, therefore, becomes safe for consumption. Also, keep in mind that some species are more toxic than others and that only the least toxic plants are chosen for consumption.
Safety & First Aid
Now that you know the answer to the question “are Elephant Ears toxic,” it’s time to say a few words about safety and first aid.
We must first emphasize that caution is the best measure of prevention. It is not recommended to keep this plant within the reach of children and pets. The leaves and stems are the most toxic parts namely the most poisonous parts of this plant and even the slightest contact can cause skin irritation and itching. Be careful because if the sap comes into your eyes, your eyes will burn for the next few hours.
As for pets and children and accidental swallowing of leaves, the first symptoms are a tingly or burning feeling in the mouth or lips. We must mention that the fatality rate is very low, but be careful anyway.
If you suspect your child or someone close to you has ingested elephant ear leaves, seek emergency medical help as soon as possible. Maybe even near you, there is a local poison control center or the national poison control hotline, try to get in touch with them too. Don’t by any means force vomiting. In case of contact with the eyes flush the eyes with clean water. If you suspect that your pet has eaten even the smallest piece of this plant, contact your vet right away.
To Conclude – Are Elephant Ears Toxic?
As we have seen, the Elephant Ear is a highly toxic plant that can do a lot of damage to both humans and your pets. Fortunately, this plant is rarely fatal, and almost any death can be avoided with preventive measures.
That would be it, now you know the only correct answer to the question “are Elephant Ears toxic.” If you have any questions, please let us know in the section below.
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Are Elephant Ears Toxic To Dogs?
Although it looks attractive, this plant can be very dangerous, or in other words, toxic for your dog.
Are All Elephant Ear Plants Poisonous?
Elephant ears, like all other members of the arum family, contain crystals of calcium oxalate, which are known for their extremely toxic effects.
Are Elephant Ears Toxic To Touch?
It is not recommended to touch this plant because it can cause sap secretion which can be quite irritating for your skin and eyes.
Why Is Elephant Ear Poisonous?
The Elephant Ears plant contains calcium oxalate, or oxalic acid, a chemical compound containing sharp crystals that are toxic to both humans and animals.