Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - October 18, 2013

From: Torrance , CA
Region: California
Topic: Problem Plants, Trees
Title: Injury from non-native Canary Palm from Torrance CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I got stuck in the eye a yr ago by a Phoenix canariensis. It went through my retina and through the integral chamber and put a stamp on my lense. There was no room for any more err without causing blindness. I have been seeing my eye doctor for a yr now and my vision is still not the same. Can you tell me anything about these plants being poisonous or any other people you know who have experienced this. I had immediate treatment of antibiotic but ever since my injured eye does not tract the same as my good eye. I'm now trying to do my own research. Thank you for any help you can give

ANSWER:

Ouch! We are so sorry. We are gardeners, not doctors, so it sounds like you did the right thing initially. The Canary Palm is native to the Canary Islands (thus the name) so Mr. Smarty Plants does not know much about the plant itself, since it is out of our realm of expertise, that being plants native to North America.

But we  did search around and try to find the answer to your specific question and found no reference to allergies or poisonous parts. Here is an article from Dryad Musings on specific damage that can accrue from the plant, apparently from personal experience on the part of the writer. From Dave's Garden, here are some pictures and descriptions of Dangerous Palms, which scared the daylights out of us. Scroll down the page to find pictures and discussion of Phoenix canariensis.

We feel (totally a non-educated guess) that your eye was really the target of blunt (or rather, sharp) trauma from the thorn and, personanally, would advise you stay with medical advice from those that are professionals. If you didn't get the kind of results you hoped for from your first doctor, we would suggest you seek a second opinion, but not one from plant people. Our only valid advice would be to stay away from the darn things.

 

More Trees Questions

Ground cover under Spruces from West Chester PA
December 06, 2012 - Trying to get a native groundcover (or any grass/wildflower/fern) planting established under a small stand of spruces. Established stand (30+ years old), so lots of needles on ground. Just about tot...
view the full question and answer

Landscape color for Rialto, CA
May 11, 2009 - My sister-in-law lives in Rialto CA near the base of the San Bernardino Mt ranges and it gets very windy out there. She and I were trying to figure out the best native plants for her area. Her home fa...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Arizona Ash in Leander TX
March 10, 2011 - What would make my otherwise healthy Arizona Ash tree, that was doing so well last year, only bud out on just one side?
view the full question and answer

Arborvitae for house plant from Austin
August 15, 2013 - I am a Northerner transplanted to Austin, TX. While I love Austin it feels like many of the plants & trees I came to love up north won't grow here at all. Could I grow an arborvitae in my home as a...
view the full question and answer

Best pine tree for northern Illinois
October 03, 2010 - I live in Schaumburg,IL. What would be the best type of pine tree to plant?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.