Baby’s breath has been a staple in the floral industry since ancient times. It is used in wedding bouquets, centerpieces, and many other occasions. However, the question of whether baby’s breath is poisonous or not remains a controversial topic. In this article, we will explore the myths and facts surrounding this delicate flower.
Myths about Baby’s Breath Poisonousness
There are several myths about baby’s breath being poisonous that have been circulating for a long time. Some of the most common ones include:
- Baby’s breath is toxic to humans and animals if ingested
- Baby’s breath can cause severe skin irritation if touched
- Baby’s breath emits toxic fumes that can cause respiratory problems
However, these statements are false. Baby’s breath is not toxic to humans or animals if ingested. In fact, it is edible and often used in culinary preparations. It does not cause severe skin irritation either. As for the third myth, baby’s breath does not release toxic fumes that can cause respiratory problems. Inhaling its fragrance may cause some discomfort for people with asthma and allergies, but it is not toxic.
Real Danger: Toxicity of Gypsophila Paniculata
The scientific name of baby’s breath is gypsophila paniculata. While most species of gypsophila are considered safe, some are toxic. One common species that is often confused with baby’s breath and can be dangerous is gypsophila elegans. This plant is highly toxic and can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and convulsions. In severe cases, it can even lead to coma and death.
If you suspect that you or someone else has ingested gypsophila elegans, seek medical attention immediately. The treatment usually involves inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal to absorb the toxic substance.
Safe Use of Baby’s Breath
To avoid accidents and toxicity, it is essential to handle and use baby’s breath correctly. Here are some tips:
- Wash your hands after handling baby’s breath or any other plant
- Keep baby’s breath away from the reach of children and pets
- Avoid eating gypsophila elegans or any other toxic species of gypsophila
- If you are allergic to plants, wear gloves and a face mask when handling baby’s breath
If you are uncertain about the safety of a particular species of gypsophila, consult a professional florist or gardener for advice.
Despite the common misconceptions about baby’s breath being poisonous, it is generally safe to handle and use. However, it is crucial to distinguish it from other species of gypsophila that can be highly toxic. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the beauty of baby’s breath without any health risks.