Araceae Toxicity


Araceae Toxicity, Araceae

  • Background
  1. Araceae family of plants
  2. Genera include Alocasia, Arisaema, Caladium, Colocasia, Dieffenbachia, and Philodendron
  3. Broad firm and shiny leaves
  4. Examples
    1. Mother-In-Law's Tongue (Dracaena trifasciata)
    2. Elephant Ears (genera Colocasia, Alocasia, and Xanthosoma)
  • Mechanism
  1. Plant is coated in sharp, lancinating Calcium oxalate crystals (raphides)
  2. When the plant is bitten (most often by a child), the crystals lance the mucosa causing localized symptoms
  • Symptoms
  1. Pain and swelling of mucosa on biting leaf
  • Signs
  1. Crying due to pain
  2. Drooling
  3. Anterior oropharyngeal swelling (esp. lips, Tongue)
  4. Tongue Pain may interfere with speaking
  • Differential Diagnosis
  1. See Plant Toxicity
  2. Anaphylaxis
  3. Angioedema
  • Management
  1. Airway Management as needed
    1. Case reports of posterior oropharyngeal involvement and need for Endotracheal Intubation
  2. Typically self limited and resolves in 20-30 minutes
  3. Treated symptomatically
    1. Cold milk
    2. Popsicles
  • References
  1. Claudius, Behar and Nordt in Herbert (2020) EM:Rap 20(9): 5-7