Euphorbia tirucalli WARNING

Firestick Pencil Cactus – Euphorbia tirucalli


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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphorbia_tirucalli
If you look, you can find numerous stories worse than mine!

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