by johnah on November 22, 2020
Woody Christmas Cacti are plants that have been grown from seed. They are native to Mexico and Central America. They grow in desert areas where there is little or no water. These plants produce flowers which contain toxic substances called terpenes (flavors). When these terpenes get into your body they cause various symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and dizziness. You may even die!
The plant’s leaves are poisonous and when ingested can cause severe skin irritation, blindness, coma and death. The plant produces a toxin that causes kidney failure. If you eat any part of it, especially the roots, you will suffer the same effects.
It is not known exactly how many people have died from eating this plant because most of them were never identified and their bodies were never found.
The only way to prevent this is to destroy the plant before it gets too far. There are several ways of doing so. One method involves cutting off all parts of the plant except its stems and seeds.
Another method involves burying the whole thing in sand or dirt. Still another method involves putting a piece of plastic over the top of it so that it cannot germinate and then burning or burying it completely. In this way the entire plant can be eliminated. All of these methods work well especially when the plant is still small.
There are seven species of this plant in all. They all have the same properties as far as being poisonous. Even their seeds contain poisons and should not be ingested.
One species is even more toxic than the rest. It is known as Argelander’s Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera argentea). This plant and its seeds are especially dangerous. Your body will react very badly to any part of it.
The most common species is the Christmas Cactus (S. Tricolor). It has a white, pink and purple flower and is probably the one you have in your house right now.
These plants are very popular among collectors because of their pretty flowers. A lot of them grow them either in green houses or in their homes. Others grow them outdoors in warmer climates such as Florida and Southern California.
There are some species of these plants that are less toxic than others. For example the Pink Dream Christmas Cactus (S. truncata) is not poisonous at all.
Neither is the Goodness Grows Christmas Cactus (S. longifolia). These plants are favorites of many people who have children or have pets. That is because they are safer to have around the house if you have children or pets who might try to eat them. They look almost exactly like the Christmas Cactus except for their coloring. Many nurseries and garden stores sell these plants so it could be difficult to tell them apart unless you are an expert.
Many people grow these plants in green houses and then transfer them into their homes when they start to bloom. Others buy them at nurseries or garden stores when they are in bloom.
Sources & references used in this article:
The physiological ecology of woody plants by TT Kozlowski, PJ Kramer, SG Pallardy – 2012 – books.google.com
FERTILIZATION OF CHRISTMAS CACTUS by RT Poole, CA Conover – HortScience, 1990 – journals.ashs.org
Woody Plants and Woody Plant Management: Ecology: Safety, and Environmental ImPatt by RW Bovey – 2001 – books.google.com
The woody plants of Siguatepeque, Honduras by PC Standley – Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, 1930 – JSTOR
Effects of Varying White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus ) and Supplemental Feeder Site Densities on Woody Vegetation in a Semiarid Environment by LM Phillips – 2018 – search.proquest.com
Grafting Cacti (Continued) by B Mackensen – 1909 – The author
Nurturing Native Plants, A Guide to Vegetative Propagation of Native Woody Plants in Utah by H Blossfield – The Cactus Journal, 1936 – JSTOR