What is Dumb Cane?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
The dumb cane may be poisonous if ingested, causing swelling of the mouth, tongue, and throat.
The dumb cane may be poisonous if ingested, causing swelling of the mouth, tongue, and throat.

Dumb Cane is the common name of the tropical plant of the genus Dieffenbachia and the family Araceae. Seguine and Amoena are two of the most well-known species of this plant. The Dumb Cane is referred to as The King of Plants, as it's a large and hearty plant that doesn't need a lot of light to grow well. The Dumb Cane is tall with long, pattered leaves. If the plant grows so tall that it looks too spindly, the top may be cut back in most cases.

The Dumb Cane often grows up to at least six feet (1.829 m) tall. The leaves are dark green with distinctive v-shaped pale yellow or cream patterns. Some species have spotted patterns. The Dumb Cane has remained one of the most popular houseplants in the United States since the 19th century as it can grow well in shade and any type of lighting conditions. A well-drained soil is often recommended for growing Dumb Canes.

Although the Dumb Cane is a favorite houseplant, it is not the best for smaller children and curious pets. This is because the leaves, sap and roots are very poisonous if ingested and can cause swelling of the mouth, tongue and throat. The sap of a Dumb Cane is especially acrid. The vocal cords may be so damaged and numb after chewing on part of a Dumb Cane that speech is impossible. This is why the plant is called the Dumb Cane; to be dumb means to be without the ability to produce speech.

Research has shown that calcium oxalate crystals found in the Dumb Cane cause swelling and dumbness. Some studies have found that toxic proteins such as asparagine in the calcium oxalate crystals may be the source of the burning and inflammation. The Dumb Cane originated in Brazil and is of the same family as the Philodendron. Many plants that belong to the Philodendron family contain calcium oxalate crystals in their sap.

Discussion Comments

anon340194

My dumbcane is getting tall and scraggly. What is wrong with it?

anon41580

too wordy. try adding more interesting pictures.

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    • The dumb cane may be poisonous if ingested, causing swelling of the mouth, tongue, and throat.
      By: stokkete
      The dumb cane may be poisonous if ingested, causing swelling of the mouth, tongue, and throat.