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Can being poked by pyracantha thorns result in poison-like reactions?

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2014-02-06 19:38:05
2014-02-06 19:38:05

Yes, being poked by pyracantha thorns can result in poison-like reactions.

Specifically, the shrub in question belongs to the genus Pyracantha. It includes among its common names "firethorn" because of the allergic reactions which contact may provoke in susceptible individuals. The woody plant shelters hydrogen cyanide (HCN) within its parts, especially the berries and the sap. The internal quantity of the toxic poison will be sufficient to irritate the skin through contact with sap and thorns or to provoke diarrhea and vomiting through ingestion of berries.

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Firethorn (Pyracantha)Needle PalmAcaena


Yes- but the thorns are going to make it VERY difficult to handle.


Pyracantha berries are edible, so you can eat them. I heard people make jelly out of them. Although Pyracantha or Fire Thorn has thorns that can cause a rash, Philadelphia Children's Hospital reports that they are not toxic unless eaten "...in large quantities." You should be reasonably safe on this one, barring allergies. See links.


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The poison in a Pyracantha is in such tiny amounts that being pricked by a thorn would not cause any problems. The above may be true but I have found on several occasions when pruning our Pyracantha that the almost inevitable pricks by the amazingly sharp thorns will often leave me with a very sore and red finger or arm. This goes away after 2 or 3 days. This is possibly due to the minute amounts of cyanide in the plants.


Very, VERY, carefully. I suggest leather gloves and long sleeves. You can prune at anytime year except dead of winter. Pyracacantha is a very fast grower and can get out of hand very quickly. I am not sure if Pyracantha thorns are poisonous, but I've have stuck with them and it left a very tender, sore and red spot. Be careful


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