Toxic Trees And Plants


Bird Whisperer
Staff member
Amaryllis - bulbs
American Yew
Azalea - leaves
Balsam Pear - seeds, outer rind of fruit
Baneberry - berries, root
Bird of Paradise - seeds
Black Locust - bark, sprouts, foliage
Blue-green Algae - some forms toxic
Boxwood - leaves, stems
Buckthorn - fruit, bark
Buttercup - sap, bulbs
Caladium - leaves
Calla Lily - leaves
Castor Bean - also castor oil, leaves
Chalice Vine/Trumpet vine
Christmas Candle - sap
Clematis/Virginia Bower
Coral Plant - seeds
Cowslip/Marsh Marigold
Daffodil - bulbs
Daphne - berries
Datura - berries
Deadly Amanita
Death Camas
Deffenbachia/Dumb Cane - leaves
Eggplant - fruit okay
Elephants Ear/Taro - leaves, stem
English Ivy berries, leaves
English Yew
False Henbane
Fly Agaric Mushroom - Deadly Amanita
Foxglove - leaves, seeds
Golden Chain/Laburnum
Hemlock - also water the plant is in
Henbane - seeds
Holly - berries
Horse Chestnut/Buckeye - nuts, twigs
Hyacinth - bulbs
Hydrangea - flower bud
Indian Turnip/Jack-in-Pulpit
Iris/Blue Flag - bulbs
Japanese Yew - needles, seeds
Java Bean - lima bean - uncooked
Juniper - needles, stems, berries
Lantana - immature berries
Lily of the Valley - also water the plant is in
Lords and Ladies/Cuckoopint
Marijuana/Hemp - leaves
Mayapple - fruit is safe
Mescal Beans - seeds
Mistletoe - berries
Mock Orange - fruit
Monkshood/Aconite - leaves, root
Morning Glory
Narcissus - bulbs
Nightshade - all varieties
Oleander - leaves, branches, nectar
Philodendron - leaves and stem
Pointsetta - leaves, roots, immature
Poison Ivy - sap
Poison Oak - sap
Pokeweed/Inkberry - leaf,root,young berries
Potato - eyes, new shoots
Rhubarb - leaves
Rosary Peas/Indian Licorice - seeds
Skunk Cabbage
Snow on the Mountain/Ghostweed
Sweet Pea - seeds, fruit
Tobacco - leaves
Virginia Creeper - sap
Water Hemlock
Western Yew
Yam bean - roots, immature roots

Compiled from other sources
Autumn Crocus/Meadow Saffron
Beans - all types if uncooked
Bittersweet Nightshade
Bleeding Heart/Dutchman's Breeches
Bracken Fern
Broomcorn Grass
Candelabra Tree
Cardinal Flower
Cherry Tree - bark, twigs, leaves, pits
Chinaberry Tree
Crown of Thorns
Euonymus/Spindle Tree
False Hellebore
Ficus (weeping)
Four O'Clock
Glory Bean
Ground Cherry
Honey Locust
Indian Licorice Bean
Jerusalem Cherry - berries
Johnson Grass
Kentucky Coffee Tree
Mango Tree - wood,leaves,rind-fruit safe
Mountain Laurel
Mushrooms - several varieties
Oak - acorns, foliage
Peanuts - raw
Pencil Tree
Pine needles - berries
Rain Tree
Red Maple
Sandbox Tree
Scarlet Runner Beans
Sorghum Grass
Sudan Grass
Tansy Ragwort
Yello Jasmine
Yew (Amer,Engl,Japan) - needles, thistles

Check out this website for more information


Regular Member
interestingly most of this list is poisonous to humans too. Many seeds and nut contain arsenic or a form of cyanide to prevent wild birds and animals from eating them . this gives them a chance to germinate.

My Other half asked is parrots have an instinct of what they should and should not eat .
Bob, I'm in the process of doing a 'safe' plants, trees, herbs list for parrots - with images and explinations and contradictions. I started doing it when I was looking at what I could have growing in and around an avairy... I only have a little left to do, would you like me to send it to you when its finished and see if you want it on the site?

There are also a few hanging basket 'recipies' as many bedding and basket plants are not safe.

In my own search/research I found loads of contradictions with some things appearing on safe and toxic lists depending on where you looked.Also USA sites use different names to UK which can cause confusion and potential harm. I know I wont have covered anything but I felt a safe list is handy if someone is going plant shopping.

Kate x


Quiet as a Mouse
Regular Member
Yes it would be great to have one good list we all agree is somewhere near xx

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2


Staff member
:wink: got your homework completed eh?! ROTFLMAO (sorry peeps explanation is it's an "in joke") :laugh:

Greg Glendell

Regular Member

A lot of poor info on so-called 'poisonous' plants gets circulated and repeated around the internet. Most of it is useless and not scientifically proven at all. The problem arises from a misunderstanding of toxicity itself. Toxicity is *not* really about *substances*, it's about *doses* (of *any* substance). A substance in the 'wrong' dose will kill anything. The *same* substance in the right dose can be a life-saver. So, warfarin and digitalis are listed as 'poisonous' but these very substances are actaully life savers for many people with heart/circulatory conditions.

So, *any substance* including pure distilled water can be harmful if taken in, in sufficient quantity. But *any substance* if not taken in in sufficient quantities will be harmless.

Many of the plants listed in Bob's original list are certainly *not* toxic to birds; indeed several of them are vital sources of foods and without them many birds would die in the winter. So, Holly, Common Ivy, mistletoe and yew allow birds so survive the winter.

In order to *prove* toxicity, we would have to do toxicology tests on birds. Doses would be given to them and the results noted! This is not really practical, and anyway, it would sometimes be lethal.

Where list are to be devised, they should be done using scientific names of plants, so we know what we are talking about. E.g. re. 'oak'; there are hundreds of species of 'oak' and many species of 'Ivy' as well.

Where birds are known to eat the fruits, leaves, seeds, etc of a plant, then it is unlikley that it will ever suffer any harm from having access to that plant. A bird cannot die from eating holly berries, or mistletoe, assuming it has other foods available to it as well.

Different people use different common names for the same plant. This leads to confusion. Where plants are named, their 8scientific name* should always be stated, so anyone can look it up and actually know *which* plant we are all talking about. The use of the scientific name removes any confusion.

To remove falsley labelled piosonous plants for a bird list, check ornithological data on what the birds actually eat anway. For parrots, Juiper and Pars' book 'Parrots; A guide to parrots of the world' pub 1998, is a good start.


Staff member
This is my own personal opinion so shoot me somebody if you like :biggrin:

I see it as if we don't debate we don't learn and if we are unsure surely it is better that we don't experiment ourselves......

As a lot of people have no idea what a latin name referes to in many cases is it not best to just give that species a wide berth especially if a sub-spieces of that particular plant is deadly to birdies.

Most of us are very careful and know that things to excess are not good for you or your birdies but there are always those that do allow things to excess because they mistakenly think their bird absolutly loves that particular thing and the bird only has access to that thing.....

Surely just because something can be used as a medicinal value for humans does not mean it's also safe for birds and as the majority of us are bird keepers and lovers but not scientists or specialists in the plant "field" nor are we avian vets surely it is better that we limit our boundaries to those that we "know" to be safe and thereby not risk our birds and share this information and allow the "experts" in these fields to develop a true list of what is safe and wait for them to share it with us?! - cue the next book you need to write :thumbsup:
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Staff member
Hope nobody takes my wittering rambles as an offence as it is certainly not ment that way but you would think after the number of years that parrots have been kept as pets and companions that there would have been and "official" difinitive list compiled, researched and published for us all to refer to with certainty by now. Or is there one and I've missed it??!! :shock: Or is it just that bird still haven't got the same "welfare rights" and pet status level of in some peoples eyes as dogs, cats, horses etc because there are indepth books and studies into their care and well being?!? :dntknw:

Greg Glendell

Regular Member

I think I did not put my point across well enough, so I'll try again.

I am not saying that 'toxic' substances are 'safe' for any bird (or us). What I am trying to say is that it is not *substances* that are toxic, but *doses* of (*any* substance) which can be harmfull, if taken in, in large enough amounts. This has been known for hundreds of years.

Re. naming of plants, it won't be much use for example, to say that 'Ivy' is 'poisonous' because there are many species of ivy and we would need to know which species we were referring to. The only way of doing this is to state the plant's proper scientific name.

It's like someone saying 'parrots are seed eaters'. Well, yes, some are; but which ones? There are over 300 species of parrots...

Also, when something is going to be stated as a fact for reference, the source of the info should be given, so others can check it. Anyone, including me could put up a list of 'safe' or 'poisonous' plants on the internet, but just because I had said something was safe, (or not) does not mean much unless it can be proven by referring to confirmed sources.

Conventional toxicity tests are carried out by giving increasing doses of the suspect substance to a group of, say a hundred 'test' animals of one species. As the dose increases, some become ill and, and then die. I don't think we could do this with parrots! Most of these tests have been done on rats and agriultural animals such as cows and pigs etc. Such tests have not been done on parrots, so no-one really knows much about what doses, and of what substances, the many species of parrots can accept safely.

In the meantime, it's probably best to avoid plants which contain substances which even in small doses are harmful to humans. These plants will be labelled as such at point of sale.

With some of the plants lists we see on the internet, you would get the impression that almost anything green is lethal to birds; yet parrots live in an essentially green world of plants themselves, and have been doing do for millions of years.


Staff member
Nice one Greg - explanation absorbed and understood! :thumbsup: Still think you should be writing the book for us tho complete with pictures so we can tell what we have growing in our house of the ones that we really really need to either avoid or let them have!! :shock:
Well the plant list i'm doing has got latin names as well as common (both English and US) but I am aware that the list will not be perfect and I have included contradictions too. I've taken my time and have researched to the best of my ability using information from ornothological sites and RHS. I have also included images to help identification. I just wanted to be able to have plants in my home and in and around the birds flight that will be safe for them.


Staff member
that's why me and Henni luv ya Kate you have our best interests are at heart :rose:


Bird Whisperer
Staff member
That sounds great Kate, can't ask for anymore than that, looking forward to seeing it :thumbsup:

Greg Glendell

Regular Member

Ok I'll do a list of the live plants and trees growing in my aviaries (which the birds tend to chew up a bit). I've kept parrots in aviaries for over 23 years.

Back later.


Regular Member
The trouble is I needed a chart of trees so I could cut perches for louie. I said it was for my grandson.

I was happer when I knew nothing :dntknw: .
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