Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dumb Cane, dieffenbachia.

In South East Asia, we have a plant called Dumb Cane, dieffenbachia. The Chinese call it WAN NIEN CHING, translated to ten thousand years green. This is an auspicious plant as it's name refers, it is for ever green, and never dies. Business like to grow them in their office. Some are just green, others green with white spots, and others are pale green.

I used the grow them in Singapore. They are easy to grow, and I present this to friends who are new to tropical plants. Dumb canes are so hardy that they simply would not die. The sap makes one very itchy, and parents warn children not to put them in their mouth, the mouth will glue together and they become dumb. The cells of the Dieffenbachia plant contain needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals called raphides. If a leaf is chewed, these crystals can cause a temporary burning sensation and erythema.

Once I was chatting away with my girl friend B while we were tidying our plants. She pulled of the semi dead leaves of her Dumb cane, and in no time, she was scratching away. I cut a leaf of my aloe vera, and it was a soothing balm for her.

This is a fake plant. I didn't want a child come to my house as I know it is a poisonous plant. Poisoning can occur if you eat the leaves, stalk, or root of this plant.

  • Burning in mouth or throat
  • Damage to cornea of the eye
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye pain
  • Hoarse voice
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Swelling and blistering in the mouth or tongue
Blistering and swelling in the mouth may be severe enough to prevent normal speaking and swallowing

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