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  The ZZ plant (Zamioculcus zamiifolia) is so poisonous it
From: ExoticRainforest <Steve at ExoticRainforest.com> on 2010.05.16 at 15:23:25(21074)
The wild claim that the African aroid Zamioculcas zamiifolia
is a terribly poisonous plant now finding its way into my mailbox and
on some internet plant forums on a regular basis. The claims include
the roots make a ceramic pot so poisonous you should not handle it! If
you know the source of this rumor will you please post it? If it is
based in science, I cannot find it and am growing weary of trying to
answer the emails.

I have been collecting scientific articles on calcium oxalate crystals
as it relates to aroids for several years and have yet to find any that
state it is a poison. Certainly, it can be very painful to your mouth
and throat if eaten in some cases but the substance is found in many
foods we all eat. Julius has written many times about this subject but
this rumor appears to be getting out of hand.

In my experience, the "poison" thing is almost totally a myth. For some
unknown reason lots of internet sites like to claim all aroids are
"deadly poisonous" which has scientifically proved to be bogus as far
as I can read. The Chinese began eating aroids over 10,000 years ago
and they are eaten today throughout the world including most of SE
Asia, India, all of Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.
Even the so called "deadly" young leaves of Dieffenbachia are
cooked and eaten by the Huao (Waorani) Indian tribe in Ecuador.

People all over the world eat many aroids all the time and there have
been only a couple of scientifically cases of "aroid poison" due to
calcium oxalate crystals but those also appear to have other related
causes. I guarantee you eat the stuff every single day. The same
calcium crystals are found in Parsley, Chives, Cassava, Spinach, Beet
leaves, Carrot, Radish, Collards, Bean, Brussels sprouts, Garlic,
Lettuce, Watercress, Sweet potato, Turnip, Broccoli, Celery, Eggplant,
Cauliflower, Asparagus, Cabbage, Tomato, Pea, Turnip greens, Potato,
Onion, Okra, Pepper, Squash, Cucumbers, Corn and other foods!

Now, I may be dead wrong on Zamioculcas zamiifolia but I would
like to hear some sound science to back up the claim. If you know the
source of this new rumor or can comment scientifically as to why it
should be or should not be stated the beautiful little plant is able to
poison its own pot. Please, would one of our scientists give us some
good science on the subject, I would really like to read more.

I really believe it is time the IAS helps to put out some real science
on this subject to curb all the junk "science" on the internet.

Steve

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