Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Treat Elephant Ears Poison

elephant ears image by robert mobley from

Elephant ears contain a protein called asparagine and oxalic acid, which cause poisonous reactions to those who eat the plant. Common complaints after digesting elephant ears includes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, burning of the mouth and throat, and swelling of the eyes or mouth. Families with small children should keep an eye on them in yards that contain elephant ears. Treatment for ingesting elephant ears should occur as soon as possible to prevent serious complications.

Soak a towel in cold water and wring out. Place the towel inside the mouth of the individual or to yourself. Wipe off the tongue, lips and inside of the mouth.

Wipe off the hands, eyes and face of the person inflicted with elephant ear poisoning. Use several towels if there is an excessive amount of sap on the skin.

Ask if the person can breathe. Oxalate can occasionally prevent a person from being able to freely use their airways. Find out when the person ate the plant, what part of the plant and where. Get the weight and age of the individual.

Call the poison control hotline with the information. If in doubt if the plant that was eaten was an elephant ear, have someone go to the location to take a sample.

Monitor the individual and follow the instructions of the poison control hotline. In many cases, the poison control hotline will request the person be taken in to have blood pressure and heartbeat checked.

Tips For Elephant Ears

Elephant ears thrive in full sun to partial shade, depending on which variety you are growing. For example, Colocasia spp. does well in filtered sunlight and partial shade during the heat of the day. Xanthosoma grows in both full sun and partial shade. Moisture is rarely a problem in a coastal Mediterranean climate that experiences high rainfall and humidity. thrives in moist soil, but it is also the most drought tolerant of the bunch. needs moist soil with good drainage, as it performs poorly in overly moist or saturated soil. In general, elephant ears are a relatively maintenance-free plant, provided they receive the right growing conditions. If you find that your elephant ears are growing too vigorously, stop fertilization for a month or two. Elephant ears rarely suffer from pests or diseases; however, keep an eye out for signs of mites, such as webs and curling, yellowing foliage.


Call 911 if the person has trouble breathing.


Remove elephant ear plants if children or pets are in danger of eating them.

Garden Guides