You might want to get rid of these firestick pencil cactus if you have them. This one nearly sent me to the emergency room last night. Sam Ginder, Nathan, and I were outside playing catch and Nathan was restacking some garden decorations. One of them fell on this plant. It leaked white sap. In the dim light, I touched it to make sure it wasn’t white flies, a garden pest that I have fought before. It was sap instead. I thought nothing of it, but wiped the sap off my finger – just a drip. A few minutes later I went inside and carefully washed my hands with soap and water. A few minutes after that, I inadvertently touched my eye with my hand. And fire broke out! At least that’s what it felt like.
It took me a bit to piece together what had happened and read about this plant. And that was after a desperation shower to attempt to get rid of whatever was burning my eyes! Eventually, several minutes of cold water on my eyes/face made the immediate burning sensation calmer. I was moments from asking Susie to take me to the emergency room. After stopping the eye-burning, I just had a major headache until I was able to go to sleep for the night. This morning I have a blister where the stuff must have touched my arm. I carefully covered up, dug out the three of these I had planted a few months ago (fortunately they were still small) and bagged them. Having grandkids around, I shudder at the thought of one of them getting this toxic sap on their hands and face!
I think there should be a big warning on these plants to read before you buy them. I see them in many public spots around town. Beware of their sap!
Here’s a couple of articles:
If you look, you can find numerous stories worse than mine!