Safety Practices

Even Plants Can Be Poisonous

Plants are important to our health and well-being, and they can help children understand and respect the natural world. However, some plants and seeds can be harmful when eaten or touched. According to Caring for Our Children Standard Prohibition of Poisonous Plants, poisonous or potentially harmful plants are not allowed in any part of a child care facility. If Head Start management or staff are unsure whether a plant is toxic, they can work with the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) to identify it and determine whether it is safe. Review the list of common household plants to learn which are poisonous. Staff also can share the list with families so they can protect their children and pets from toxic plants at home.

See PDF version: Even Plants Can Be Poisonous

Learn the names of your plants and label them. Below is a list of some of the more common indoor and outdoor plants that you may have in your home. This list is not a complete list. If you have a plant around your home that is not on the list, you may call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 to find out how poisonous it may be. You must know either the common name or the botanical name in order for the Poison Center to determine if it is poisonous. It is not possible to do plant or berry identifications over the phone, so check with a nursery for identification of all unknown plants. Carefully supervise children playing near poisonous plants. Call 1-800-222-1222 immediately if a child samples a mushroom or possibly poisonous plant.

Non-Poisonous Plants
Common NameBotanical Name
African violetSaintpaulia ionantha
Christmas cactusSchlumbergera bridgesii
DandelionTaraxacum officinale
JadeCrassula argentea
Marigold CalendulaTagetes
PoinsettiaEuphorbia pulcherrima (may cause irritation only)
Spider plantChlorophytum comosum
Swedish ivyPlectranthus australia
Wandering JewTradescantia fluminesis
Wild strawberryFragaria virginiensis


Poisonous Plants
Common NameBotanical Name
Azalea, rhododendronRhododendron
Castor beanRicinis communis
Deadly nightshadeAtropa belladonna
Elephant EarColocasia esculenta
FoxgloveDigitalis purpurea
Fruit pits and seedscontain cyanogenic glycosides
Jerusalem cherrySolanum pseudocapsicum
Jimson weedDatura stramonium
LantanaLantana camara
Lily-of-the-valleyConvalleria majalis
MayapplePodophyllum peltatum
MistletoeViscum album
Morning gloryIpomoea
Mountain laurelKalmia iatifolia
NightshadeSalanum spp.
OleanderNerium oleander
Peace lilySpathiphyllum
PokeweedPhytolacca americana
PothosEpipremnum aureum

Source: National Capital Poison Center ( Photos of selected plants in this appendix are available at