Can Cactus Be Poisonous

Cacti, while aesthetically pleasing and often thought of as low-maintenance houseplants, are recognized for their spines and other defense mechanisms. But wide varieties of cacti are also poisonous or mildly venomous.

In some cases, they produce an irritating sap known as OSD (Opuntia Sap Dermatitis) that can cause skin irritation and inflammation. In more severe cases, contact with a cactus’ spines or stem may result in painful puncture wounds that are slow to heal and prone to infection.

In addition, some cactus fruits have been reported to have mild toxicity, which means that it’s important to research each cactus variety before bringing one into your home or consuming them from wild-growing species.

Most of the more dangerous varieties – such as the Rhipsalis baccifera (aka mistletoe cactus) – are not typically found in the average garden store – but if you’re growing native species in your home or yard, be aware that they may contain toxins, such as adenoids or alkaloids like mescaline.

It’s best to think of potentially toxic cacti like any other possible hazard: exercise caution when handling them and keep young children away from them. Do not attempt to eat any wild-growing varieties without confirming beforehand that they are safe. Keeping these basic tips in mind will help ensure your safety around these intriguing yet often overlooked plants!

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