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Is Melianthus actually too poisonous to keep in a home garden? I see it all over the place, and I understand that it should not be eaten, but is touching the plant hazardous as well?

Rationale: I have a large Melianthus and small children. Should I rip it up?

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  • Aaron, I would teach my kids to not put anything in my mouth other than what is on the dinner plate. They might be too young? This is a tough question...I am in the camp of allowing my kids to fall to learn, but shoot, this might be pushing it a bit!! You think? Perhaps a bird net? Depends on the age of your kids. I wouldn't allow my puppies near that plant...maybe later since it common in your area? Your kids should learn anyway in case you take them to a sitter's home that doesn't know what they've got? – stormy Apr 3 '17 at 21:13
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Listed as highly toxic if ingested, so as long as no one eats it, should be fine. Not listed as causing contact reactions such as dermatitis http://ucanr.edu/sites/poisonous_safe_plants/Toxic_Plants_by_Scientific_Name_685/

This information here is quite interesting - it confirms its toxicity, but the leaves are apparently used by local people for various medical reasons, though none involve consuming the plant in any way, but in the form of poultices and the like https://www.plantzafrica.com/plantklm/melianthusmajor.htm

  • Absolutely, Bamboo. Fascinating. Someday I am going to knock on your door and demand you give me your key...for plants!! Grins. So many plants, too little time... – stormy Apr 3 '17 at 19:56
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    @stormy - I told you before, I don't have a 'key', just google and some brain cells! – Bamboo Apr 3 '17 at 20:29
  • Yeah SUUUURRRRREEE!! Grins! I know you got brain cells and google and know an awful lot more plants than I do!! I only know Pacific Northwest plants well, well enough. I would LOVE a key for plants that would at least get me in the ball park without having to suss out the genus, sigh. I love using a key sigh. Guess I'll just keep slogging along and baiting you once in a while!! Huggs! – stormy Apr 3 '17 at 21:04
  • @stormy - I'll concede a natural flair for, and a love of, research - endlessly curious, me.... – Bamboo Apr 3 '17 at 21:35

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