Discover the Milky Sap Plants You Must Know About as they can be harmful for your skin health.
Botanical Name: Calotropis
Calotropis grows as a weed in South East Asian countries, it is a tall shrub commonly used in Hindu rituals, 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 with the eye causes loss of vision.
2. Ficus Family
Botanical Name: Moraceae
The Ficus family has more than 800 species of plants and most of them discharge sap, which is latex, and seep out when the plant is pruned. Wearing gloves is suggested while handling the plants and trees as this sap can cause skin irritation and itchy eyes, which become intense when exposed to the sun.
3. Common Milkweed
Botanical Name: Asclepias syriaca
Milkweed is a wildflower and is considered 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
Botanical Name: Euphorbiaceae
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
Botanical Name: Lactuca virosa
Mildly sedative, and used as a medicine, wild lettuce is not poisonous and is 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.
Botanical Name: Carica papaya
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.
Botanical Name: Papaver
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 which is used to produce heroin and other drugs.
Botanical Name: Nerium oleander
The beautiful, mildly scented, low-maintenance oleander flower plant is a charm in subtropical and tropical gardens. Oleander branches and twigs release milky sap that contains a toxin 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 handling oleander.
9. Balloon Flower
Botanical Name: Platycodon grandiflorus
This clump-forming plant grows up to 1 to 2 and a half feet tall, it produces puffed bloom buds that open to purple-blue-bell-shaped flowers from June to August. The stems of this plant emit sap when bruised though it is not poisonous. You can grow this plant in full sun to partial shade in well-draining soil.
10. Apocynaceae Family
Botanical Name: Apocynaceae
Apocynaceae Family includes white milky sap loaded with alkaloids, it is unsafe to pets, livestock, and wildlife, and causes contact dermatitis.
11. Small Periwinkle
Botanical Name: Vinca Minor
This flowering plant from the dogbane family produces pretty blue-violet tubular blooms and deep green glossy leaves on smooth stems that release white milky sap when broken.
12. Arkansas Blue Star
Botanical Name: Amsonia hubrichtii
This herbaceous perennial offers clusters of star-shaped, powdery blue blooms across the spring and summer. Like other members of the dogbane family, they also have milky sap, make sure to wear gloves while pruning this plant as it can irritate the skin.
Botanical Name: Hippomane mancinella
The dangerous characteristics are better explained by its Spanish name, manzanilla de la Muerte (little apple of death), though the foliage and fruits of this plant resemble an apple, giving it the name ‘beach apple’. This plant has many toxins and consumption of the fruit can kill you. Its leaves and bark contain a milky sap with a chemical phorbol that produces an allergic skin reaction.
Note: During rains, avoid standing underneath this tree as raindrops through the tree gather phorbol and burn a person. Also, do not touch the tree as it can cause blisters.
Read about the 20 Most Deadly Plants That Can Kill Even Humans here
14. Pain Bush
Botanical Name: Smodingium argutum
Native to Southern Africa, pain bush is also known as African poison ivy. This small tree or shrub emits a creamy sap that is full of chemicals called heptadecyl catechols that become black when dried and cause a swollen rash with blisters.
Botanical Name: Heracleum sphondylium
The foliage and sap of this wildflower contain a chemical known as furocoumarins, contact with it can cause phytophotodermatitis, a condition that results in many blisters when exposed to sunlight.
16. Crown of Thorns
Botanical Name: Euphorbia milii
This plant shows off green leaves, and colorful little blooms. The sharp, spiny stems and branches that emit a milky sap when damaged, it is highly toxic and can be poisonous to humans and animals.
Botanical Name: Plumeria rubra
Frangipani is popular for fleshy stems and fragrant five-petaled blooms, it exudes poisonous milky sap like euphorbia family.
18. The Wax Tree
Botanical Name: Toxicodendron succedaneum
This deciduous tree features scarlet and crimson fall foliage and creamy white to yellow blooms. it’s sap is poisonous, so handle it carefully while pruning.
19. Tree Of Heaven
Botanical Name: Ailanthus altissima
This fast-growing deciduous tree produces pinnate compound leaves, freshly cut twigs emit milky sap, which can irritate the skin and eyes.
Botanical Name: Daphne
This small shrub with dark green lance-shaped foliage and white pink blooms look beautiful in gardens. All parts mainly bark and berries are toxic, the sap is also an irritant.
21. Pencil Plant
Botanical Name: Euphorbia tirucalli
The pencil-like branches without any leaves give this plant a distinct look. The milky sap from broken branches is an irritant.
22. Yellow Oleander
Botanical Name: Cascabela theveta
This evergreen shrub with shiny green foliage exudes milky sap, all parts of the plant are poisonous.
23. Blue Lily
Botanical Name: Agapanthus praecox
Blue lily is a herbaceous perennial, it features long evergreen strap-like foliage. The milky sap of this plant can irritate skin and eyes.
24. Petty Spurge
Botanical Name: Euphorbia peplus
This plant shows off soft green oval-leaves and insignificant yellow-green blooms. The sap of petty spurge is poisonous.
25. Golden Trumpet
Botanical Name: Allamanda cathartica
Golden trumpet offers deep golden scented flowers, all parts of this plant are mildly toxic , the milky sap can irritate the eyes or skin.