Beware of the Pencil Cactus
I would like to warn anyone who has or may want to buy a so called pencil cactus ( really a Euphorbia). This plant is still sold in garden centers as a cactus. This plant is toxic and you can go blind if you get the sap in your eyes. Here is what happened to me. I was working for a landscape company and we re-potted a ladys so called pencil cactus. After washing my hands with soap I touched my eyes and in minutes they started to burn. The sap is latex based and does not always come off with soap. And hour later I was blind in the ER with both corneas burned out. I cant even describe the pain. They washed my eyes out but did not know how to treat the burn. I went home and had my son look this plant up and it said the sap is like having lye thrown in your eyes and you can go blind. I went back to the ER and was treated by a doctor who knew the danger of this plant. I spent three long days in absolute agony, blind and on massive amounts of Vicodin. The eye specialist I went to said it was the worst eye burn she had ever seen. I spent three months with pressure in my eyes on steroids and hopeful I did not loose my eyesight. If you have a latex allergy all Euphorbias are dangerous because of the latex based sap. If you have one of these pencil cactus's please get rid of it, dont buy one at garden centers,wear gloves and even then wash your hands raw. You will not know if you have a latex allergy until its too late. But all pencil cactus is dangerous for all people. If you get the sap in your eyes, flush, flush flush, then get to the ER ASAP. I would not wish the agony I went though on anyone. As for my lovely employer, they locked up the shop because they feared a visit from OSHA. Please do not let this happen to you, a plant is not worth the danger of possible blindness. This plant should be outlawed and never sold to the public, ever.