October 17, 2011,
Potato Plant Poisoning - Green Tubers and Sprouts
Potato plant poisoning occurs when someone eats the green tubers or new sprouts of the potato plant.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Back to TopAlternative Names
Solanum tuberosum poisoning
Back to TopPoisonous Ingredient
Solanine (very toxic even in small amounts)
Back to TopWhere Found
The poison is found throughout the plant, but especially in green potatoes and new sprouts. Never eat potatoes that are spoiled or green below the skin. Always throw away the sprouts.
Potatoes that are not green and have had any sprouts removed are safe to eat.
Back to TopHome Care
Seek immediate medical help. Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care professional.
Back to TopBefore Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:
- Patient's age, weight, and condition
- Time it was swallowed
- Amount swallowed
- Name and part of plant that was swallowed
Back to TopPoison Control
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
See: Poison control center - emergency number
Back to TopWhat to Expect at the Emergency Room
The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:
- Activated charcoal
- Breathing support
- Fluids through a vein (IV)
- Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)
Back to TopOutlook (Prognosis)
How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.
Death has been reported, but is rare.
Back to TopReferences
Hostetler MA, Schneider SM. Poisonous plants. In: Tintinalli JE, Kelen GD, Stapczynski JS, Ma OJ, Cline DM, eds. Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide . 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2004:chap 205.
Graeme K. Toxic plant ingestions. In: Auerbach PS, ed. Wilderness Medicine . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 58.
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