Beware of the Dumb cane plant (Dieffenbachia seguine)

Poisonous indoor plant Dumb cane plant. Poisonous indoor plant Dumb cane plant. Finima Nature Park.

A synopsis on Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia) – Plant made up of poisonous part

Beware of the dumb cane plant Dieffenbachia seguine, is a common, popular exotic indoor ornamental plant in Nigeria. It is in the in the family of Araceae. It is propagated through stem/cane cutting. It is an invasive indoor/house plant.



Primarily it is used as an ornamental and sometimes employed for medicinal and other miscellaneous uses (Bosch et al., 2002). The stem and root extracts have been described as a narcotic, a gastric and kidney irritant and historically used as arrow poisons by the West Indians in the new world (Cheney, 1931). It is reported to be highly poisonous plant to humans and when brought into the eye, the sap can cause injury of the cornea and all parts of the plant are very poisonous when ingested (Ardittia and Rodrigueza, 1982; Fochtman et al., 1969; Cumpston et al., 2003). This plant can cause blistering and swelling in the mouth may be severe enough to prevent normal speaking and swallowing.


Different shades of Dumb cane plant (Dieffenbachia seguine) at Finima Nature Park

The sap from the stem and leaves of this highly poisonous plant is known to contain dangerous quantities of needle-shaped crystals of calcium oxalate that when chewed result in an intense burning sensation and then loss of speech in humans – hence the name dumb plant.


These Dieffenbachia species has invaded most part of the Niger delta where we have swamp. Because they flourished well and are able to displace the native species and invaded the habitat. This dumb cane plant can also be found around the First Walkway of Finima Nature Park, managed by the Nigeria Conservation Foundation in partnership with Nigeria LNG in Bonny Island Rivers Nigeria.


Most people place this indoor plant in front of their balcony or around their house without knowing the poisonous effect of this Arum species when consume or when touch.


Many research works has been written on the dumb cane plant. And many reports have gone viral on social media about the poisonous effect of the plant.


Safety Measures to be taken for people keeping it as ornamental plant;

  • Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) when handling, planting or trimming it
  • Keep out of reach of children.
  • Employed the use of expert at all time.
  • In case of emergency, contact the nearest medical physician


Visits us today @ #Finima Nature Park (FNP). Here you will learn about this poisonous plant and many more.


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