Sago Palm toxic to humans?

eliza_beth_2010June 19, 2010

Has anyone heard of a human poisoned by a Sago Palm? My husband spent over 5 hrs. up under our huge plant trimming all the lower branches. The next day he began running a fever, which has lasted 4 wks. He is now in the hospital with an infected, inflammed colon, extreme nausea, diarhea with blood and he is not responding to antibiotics. We are wondering if this could be the source. Thanks

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have one and i think the only way it can harm people is if you eat it. Unless your alergic to it

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 1:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is indeed toxic to people, but I have not heard of it being a problem from contact... you have to eat it, and quite a bit of it if you are a large person. Causes liver damage.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 9:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Eliza beth,

Hope your hubby is feeling better...

Thinking of you and your family and hoping that they find the answer soon!!

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 10:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Its only toxic to humans if you eat it, but maybe is sensitive, possibly allergic, to cycads. Did he accidentally eat some?? Ive never heard of anyone getting that sick just by contact with a sago palm and it sounds like something that would only happen if he ate it or it could be something else entirely. If his condition doesnt improve soon I definitely suggest you see a doctor.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 12:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

considering the severity of your husbands' symptoms, I'm wondering if he could have inhaled/ingested some of the white fungus that has destroyed so many Sago in the past year or two. OR had he recently sprayed or dusted the Sago with a fungicide or pest control of some sort? Garden chemicals can be SO dangerous. I do hope he has recovered by now.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 12:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I didnt read that he was in the hospital so I guess he already has seen a doctor.
I hope he gets better soon!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 2:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

After two days of being stuck by one of the leaf needles, I too had fever,flu like aching, large red swelling behind my elbow. I went to ER, they lanced it and prescribed antibodies and pain meds. This is day 4 with still swelling, redness,and pain. but no fever or ache. I will try to get in to a regular dr.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm staying away from those! Especially with my allergies!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 9:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
NoVaPlantGuy_Z7b_8a(Alexandria, VA 7B/8A)

Sorry to hear about your husband. I hope he gets better soon! That is scary stuff, esp if they are unable to pinpoint a cause.

Yeah, they are poisonous, but as has been stated only if you eat them. Further, its the SEEDS that are far and away the MOST poisonous part too. They look like big red berries and can be tempting to animals or small children which can cause serious problems if ingested by either. But again, you have to eat them. I know that one CAN have a slight allergic reaction of their skin is pierced by one of the needles, but usually such reactions are fairly mild. I know that when I have been scratched by mine I've gotten a little itchy around where it got me, but nothing more and that goes away in a few minutes.

The white stuff that is killing off sago palms in the south I think is cycad Scale, and not a fungus. That said, I wonder if you disturb them enough and their fluff flies off and one inhales it if someone could be allergic to that or if that could cause illness?

OR, there was some kind of fungus on/ around the plant that was disturbed and possibly inhaled? Tough to say, but those certainly are possibilities.

Sending good positive thoughts your way!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 1:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, I was pulling weeds underneath my sago....I was poked by the fronds on my forearm. They have since blistered and have been itching like crazy for over a week. Does anyone know how long this will last? I used and anti itch medicine and external antibiotic gel but it still looks terrible and still itches!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 11:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If it's been a week, you might want to see a doctor about it. It's probably just an allergic reaction, but it might be infected despite the OTC antibiotic ointment. If you're using hydrocortisone as the "anti-itch" medication, you might want to consider an antihistamine ointment/cream like benadryl, it is more powerful than the hydrocortisone, and you can use both together actually.

I had a similar reaction to parsnip foliage, itchy red fluid filled blisters. They took a while to completely go away. I took OTC antihistamines which helped take the itch away.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 8:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

my dad has two of these. they sting when they poke you and they can get slightly infected. my dad has been hospitalised due to getting poked in the past. I have also stepped on one after it was pruned and my foot got so swollen I couldn't wear shoes for a week. I would hate to think what several pokes would do

I don' know the specific name of them, though I have been told once. if i find out I will post again. I have tried googling it to no avail.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I hope he is feeling better. In future if this occures make sure he is drinking LOTS of fluids and anti nausea medications. Give him day quil or tylenol to reduce his fever. The last thing you want is for him to get dehydrated (it can raise his fever). This could have contributed to his 4 weeks of fever!

Hope he's ok!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Also, if you have swelling, ICE it for 10-15 mins at a time. Then take a brake for a while and start again. (You don't want frostbite from too much ice)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 9:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is serious guys, I was removing my young sago palm from my garden when I was painful stuck three times from the long needles who grows on the trunk, in the next day I start having burn itching around my eyes and legs and arm. two days later my eyes start to swelling very bad and a had to use ice every one hour to relive the swelling. Next day went to a doctor for treatment. I was given a shot of depomedrol plus pills of cetirizine and prednisone. The itching problem disappear in the next day and the swelling eyes took about three days. Thanks god not a single allergic reaction to the prescription but I stay away from that beautiful palm.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
k4idx(7 -GA)

Definitely something to keep in mind. I wonder if it's kind of like poison oak and poison ivy when it comes down to who has a reaction? I'm not allergic to either of those and can literally pull them up by hand without any reaction...same with my sago's, been stuck and pricked hundreds of times with no reaction. I do wear long sleeves when I prune and gloves though as a precaution.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 4:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First off I am a veterinarian by profession with a focus in comparative physiology and comparative pathology and not a gardener or horticulturalist. Sgao palms are know to be toxic by oral consumption in dogs and occasionally in cats although most cats are bright enough to avoid eating them. As a general rule of thumb many toxins have cross species capabilities (i.e., if it effects dogs there is a good chance it will affect humans). A possibility that might need to be investigated in your husbands situation was what insects or arthropods (e.g., ticks and fleas) were living in the area under the Sago Palm. In the last decade there has been an explosion of information regarding tick borne and flea transmitted infectious diseases (do a literature search on Ed Breitschwerdt at North Carolina State). What you describe might be attributable to borelliosis, bartonellosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and / or ricketsiosis. You might want to have your physicians contact an infectious disease specialist and work with a company by the name of Galaxy Diagnostics. All of the aforementioned diseases can be very difficult to diagnose.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2014 at 11:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
shenue(z7 MD)

Eliza, how is your hubby doing? I sure hope he has made a full recovery!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2014 at 10:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Interesting⦠must be some variation in sensitivity to certain things that may be on these plants⦠the leaves themselves are fairly plastic-like and not likely to give up any toxic material if poked by them⦠but perhaps there are pollens on them etc. that might be the problem (maybe even Cycas pollen, which is known to be somewhat allergenic to some).

My friend and I have moved hundreds of these large plants from location to location, and been scratched, poked, pretty severely stabbed, bled, and even had some fall on us scraping us up all over⦠some of these plants weigh many hundreds of pounds. So far, neither of us have had any reaction to these jabs, scratches or even the deeper lacerations (other than what one would get with any laceration or puncture). These cycads do have lots of sharp things all over, particularly near the base of each leaf and next to the leaves on the crowns. Been doing this for about 20 years. Not heard of any one getting seriously hurt or reacting in a way that several of you have described, either. But there will be people that react to just about anything I have learned. Certainly have discovered this when it comes to plants the ooze irritating saps⦠some people get at worst a mild rash while others have to be hospitalized (fortunately those latter incidents seem pretty rare).

    Bookmark   October 12, 2014 at 7:57PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Sabal palm and fertilizing bermuda?
Hi, i have been getting alot of help just reading through...
Palm fronds turning yellow/brown
I have just moved into a (London, UK) house with some...
Oliver Beattie
This new format sucks!
I think I'm done posting here.
Me little plants just atsrting out
If you look close you can see the Y.Rostrata,variegated...
When to fertilize palm trees after transplanting
I have planted 5 gorgeous Canary Island palm trees...
Sponsored Products
Magic Garden Rocking Bed for Dolls
Classic Hostess
Eames Molded Plywood Lounge Chair, LCW -NatCherry
Design Within Reach
Iannone Design | Cork Media Console
Charles Grande Leather Sofa and Loveseat Set Of 2 in Tan
$1,599.00 | LexMod
Laura Ashley 95-inch Tall Areca Palm Tree in Fiberstone Planter
Ango | Three Stone Floor Lamp
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™