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Re: The ZZ plant (Zamioculcus zamiifolia) is so poisonous it can poison the pot? Can someone provide a source for this claim?

  • Subject: Re: The ZZ plant (Zamioculcus zamiifolia) is so poisonous it can poison the pot? Can someone provide a source for this claim?
  • From: Peter Boyce <phymatarum@googlemail.com>
  • Date: Mon, 17 May 2010 13:24:11 +0800

The best one circulating here in Malaysia is that the pollen alone is enough to cause death in adult huans. I know of NO science whatsoever to back-up these claims.




From: aroid-l-bounces@www.gizmoworks.com [mailto:aroid-l-bounces@www.gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of ExoticRainforest
Sent: Monday, 17 May, 2010 6:23 AM
To: Discussion of aroids
Subject: [Aroid-l] The ZZ plant (Zamioculcus zamiifolia) is so poisonous it can poison the pot? Can someone provide a source for this claim?


The wild claim that the African aroid Zamioculcas zamiifolia is a terribly poisonous plant now finding its way into my mailbox and on some internet plant forums on a regular basis.  The claims include the roots make a ceramic pot so poisonous you should not handle it!  If you know the source of this rumor will you please post it?  If it is based in science, I cannot find it and am growing weary of trying to answer the emails.

I have been collecting scientific articles on calcium oxalate crystals as it relates to aroids for several years and have yet to find any that state it is a poison.  Certainly, it can be very painful to your mouth and throat if eaten in some cases but the substance is found in many foods we all eat.  Julius has written many times about this subject but this rumor appears to be getting out of hand.

In my experience, the "poison" thing is almost totally a myth. For some unknown reason lots of internet sites like to claim all aroids are "deadly poisonous" which has scientifically proved to be bogus as far as I can read. The Chinese began eating aroids over 10,000 years ago and they are eaten today throughout the world including most of SE Asia, India, all of Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. Even the so called "deadly" young leaves of Dieffenbachia are cooked and eaten by the Huao (Waorani) Indian tribe in Ecuador.

 People all over the world eat many aroids all the time and there have been only a couple of scientifically cases of "aroid poison" due to calcium oxalate crystals but those also appear to have other related causes. I guarantee you eat the stuff every single day. The same calcium crystals are found in Parsley, Chives, Cassava, Spinach, Beet leaves, Carrot, Radish, Collards, Bean, Brussels sprouts, Garlic, Lettuce, Watercress, Sweet potato, Turnip, Broccoli, Celery, Eggplant, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Cabbage, Tomato, Pea, Turnip greens, Potato, Onion, Okra, Pepper, Squash, Cucumbers, Corn and other foods!

Now, I may be dead wrong on Zamioculcas zamiifolia but I would like to hear some sound science to back up the claim.  If you know the source of this new rumor or can comment scientifically as to why it should be or should not be stated the beautiful little plant is able to poison its own pot.  Please, would one of our scientists give us some good science on the subject,  I would really like to read more.

I really believe it is time the IAS helps to put out some real science on this subject to curb all the junk "science" on the internet.


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