|The deadly Desert Rose|
|Written by DECR|
|Thursday, 22 September 2011 09:27|
As the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources continues its research on poisonous and injurious plants in the TCI, it came across the Desert Rose.
Scientifically known as Adenium obesum, the Desert Rose belongs to the family Apocynaceae whose shrubs could grow as high as 6 to 10 feet in deep fertile soil but it is dwarfed in TCI due to shallow and poor soil quality.
This plant has a swollen trunk and branches and fleshy dark green leaves with milky sap. It has a bright and showy funnel-form, with pink or purple flowers cluster at the branch tips. The desert rose is cultivated as a houseplant and grown outdoors as a landscape plant.
It contains cardioactive steroids resembling digitalis. Substantial ingestion may lead to toxicity. Poisoning would be expected to produce clinical findings typical of cardioactive steroids. Toxicity has a variable latent period that depends on the quantity ingested. Dysrhythmias are usually expressed as sinus bradycardia, premature ventricular contractions, atrioventricular conduction defects, or ventricular tachydysrhythmias.
Hyperkalemia, if present, may be an indicator of toxicity.
If poisoning associated with this plant is suspected, you should conduct gastrointestinal decontamination as appropriate; serial electrocardiograms, and serum potassium determinations should be performed. If serious cardioactive steroid toxicity is considered, digoxin-specific Fab should be administered. Consultation with a Poison Control Center should be considered.
It is recommended that you refrain from touching this plant, especially the milky sap, and if possible remove it from school grounds or public places such as parks, and roads. The DECR is coordinating with the Environmental Health Department and Customs Department to restrict the importation of this and other poisonous ornamentals into the TCI.
For more information, please contact the DECR Office nearest to you.
Photo: The whole Desert Rose is poisonous and can cause toxicity if ingested. (Eric Salamanca)
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