Anthurium andraeanum

Botanical Name

Anthurium andraeanum Linden ex Andre [2]

Synonyms

No documentation

Family

Araceae

Vernacular Names

Malay Bunga hati                                                   
English Flamingo lili  [3] [4]

Description

Anthurium andreanum is a member of the Araceae family. It is a herbaceous perennials with clustering, dark green, leathery leaves that are heart shaped. The leaf blades are up to 30cm long; the apex is acute to acuminate, margins entire.  The plant is characterized by the attractive orange-red, heart-shaped, blistered spathe which can reach up to 14cm long and 9cm wide. This is carried on a long peduncle. The vassal lobes are slightly overlapping and sometimes fused at the base. The waxy spathes offer an astonishing, sweet scent. The spandex is recurved and measures 7cm long. It is yellow initially and turning white upon maturing. The flowers are bisexual and small. Perianth segments – 4. Stamens – 4. Ovary superior. [1], [2], [3]

Distribution

A. andreanum are plants of the neotropical region of Central and South America. In the main they can be found in the wet tropical mountain forests of these areas, especially Panama, Colombia, Brazil, the Guiaina Sheild and Ecuador. [5]

Plant Use

Ornamental. It is reported that the flower ash is used to treat boils. [3]

Toxic Parts

Whole plant [4]

Toxin

The whole plant contains calcium oxalate crystals especially in the sap.  It is also contains proteolytic enzymes that can excite histamine release causing serious allergic reaction in sensitive individuals [4].

Risk Management

A. andreanum are unique plants which may help in further enhancing the landscape around the house. However, it can cause adverse effects on pets and children when ingested. It would be wise to place this plant as a second layer plant which would render it inaccessible to pets and out of reach of small children.

Clinical Findings

The leaves and stems of A. andreanum containing minute, sharp crystals, or raphides, of calcium oxalates. If ingested, it causes painful burning and swelling of the lips, mouth, and throat, sometimes to the extent of causing restriction to breathing. Symptoms may include increase salivation, hoarseness, difficulty in swallowing, loss of speech, and loss of appetite. The initial pain from ingestion almost always inhibits further swallowing. The crystals pass unchanged through the digestive tract not causing further complications. The calcium oxalate crystals may cause irritation to the skin and eyes. [2]

Management

Management of Oxalate Poisoning. [4], [6]

Pre-hospital care:

  1. Remove all traces of plant material from areas contaminated with it i.e. mouth, eye and skin, immediately. Rescuers should ensure they are protected from contact with these plant materials.
  2. Exposed areas should be copiously irrigates with water.
  3. If ingested, the mouth should be repeatedly rinsed with cool water or a demulcent.
  4. Provide analgesics if pain is severe.

Emergency Department care:

  1. Oral exposure – Asses airway for any signs of compromise. Those without compromised airway can be given cold liquids, crushed ice or ice cream for relief. Keeping or swishing antihistamine liquid like diphenhydramine in the mouth can provide local anaesthetic and antihistaminic effects. Those with evidence of laryngeal oedema can be treated with antihistamines and observed or better admitted until oedema subsides.
  2. Eye exposures – Copious irrigation with water. Rule out corneal involvement by performing slit-lap examination with fluorescein staining.
  3. Skin exposures – Washing with soap and water suffice, and local wound care it there exist any wounds. Some people may develop contact dermatitis.

References

  1. Kamemoto H, Kuehnie AR. Breeding Anthuriums in Hawaii, University of Hawaii Press Honolulu; 1996. p. 4.
  2. Turner NJ, Aderkas PV. The North American Guide to Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms. Timber Press; 2009. p. 288–289.
  3. Vardhana R. Direct Uses of Medicinal Plants and Their Identification. Sarup & Sons New Delhi; 2008. p. 34.
  4. Nelson LS, Shih RD, Balick MJ. Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants. 2nd ed The New York Botanical Garden New York; 2007. p. 81 – 82.
  5. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthurium (Accessed 11th April 2011)
  6. Oxalate Poisoning. [Cited on 2011 April 20]. Available from: http://misc.medscape.com/pi/android/medscapeapp/html/A817016-business.html