There are plants that release milky sap. This milky sap is poisonous and causes symptoms like skin irritation, nausea, and itchiness. Learn about a few of these important plants in this article.
Calotropis grows as a weed in South East Asian countries, it is a tall shrub and commonly used in Hindu rituals, and in traditional Ayurveda to increase vigor and in curing diseases like cough, cold, nausea, and asthma. The plant has thick waxy leaves and sticky lavender-white flowers that lure bees and butterflies. When its leaves are plucked, it releases viscous milky white sap that is poisonous and its contact to eye causes loss in vision.
2. Ficus Family
Ficus family has more than 800 species of plants and most of them discharge sap. The sap that released from ficus family plants is latex and seep out when the plant is pruned. Wearing gloves at the time of dealing with ficus family plants and trees is important as this sap can cause skin irritation and itchy eyes, which escalates more when exposed to the sun.
3. Common Milkweed
Milkweed is a wildflower and considered as a weed. It thrives in the dry and poor soil. It blooms in warm summer and spring and attracts a wide range of pollinators like bees and butterflies. When its foliage is snapped or picked, it emits white sap, which is poisonous when ingested.
4. Euphorbiaceae Family
Euphorbiaceae is a large family of flowering plants. It grows in the part shade and produces colorful flowers. Plants of this genus are deer resistant and pest repellent. Similar to milkweed, it releases sap from broken foliage or stem, which can cause skin rashes.
5. Wild Lettuce
Mildly sedative, used as a medicine, wild lettuce is not poisonous. It’s a beneficial herb. Wild lettuce is native to Europe and West Asia, its cream-colored sap ooze out from wounds in the plant, which is collected for medicinal purposes. Its sap contains ‘lactucarium’ which has sedative, antispasmodic, hypnotic and narcotic properties.
Papaya is one of the most nutritious fruits grown in the tropical part of the world. Its young fruits and stems release milky white sap, which is not poisonous. It is used in alternative medicines Ayurveda and recently it’s proved that its sap contains anti-cancer properties.
Poppies are tall annuals grown for their beautiful large red, yellow and white flowers . All parts of this plant are toxic. One of its species (opium poppy) contains opium, it releases sap and is used to produce heroin and other drugs.
Beautiful and mildly scented and low maintenance oleander flower plant is a charm of sub tropical and tropical gardens. Oleander branches and twigs release milky sap that contains a toxic called ‘Cardenolide Glycosides’ when plucked or pruned, though this is harmless when touched, but beware— when ingested, it can be very harmful. Always wash your hands carefully after working with oleander.