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Plants - Safe for Birds

By Rick Axelson, DVM

Care & Wellness, Pet Services

My bird likes to eat my houseplants. Should I be worried?plants_-_safe_for_birds-1

Many birds naturally eat plants as part of their diet. Birds will chew on and possibly consume plants in the course of play and curiosity. Birds left unsupervised out of their cage may easily encounter plants kept around the house and in the garden. It is important for owners to be aware of which plants are safe for birds. Few actual studies are available concerning plant toxicity and birds. Some plants will just make a bird sick and some can kill. (see - Toxic Plants handout). Some of the information pertaining to other species, including humans, must be extrapolated to birds.

Which plants are safe?

The following list of indoor and outdoor plants have been reported as having no adverse affects on animals. Please reference the Toxic Plants handout as well. Remember that any plant eaten in excess may cause harm or gastrointestinal upset. If there is concern regarding specific plants not listed here, or the specific name of a plant, then consult your local Poison Control Center or a reputable plant nursery for more information.

Abelia Creeping Jenny Kenya violet Kharoub Queensland arrowroot
Acacia Creeping mahonia King nut
Achira Creeping pilea King of the forest Rabbits foot fern
Acorn squash Creeping rubus King and queen fern Rainbow orchid
African Daisy Creeping zinnia Kuang-yen- pa-hsieh Raphiolepsis
African violet Crepe myrtle   Red african violet
Alfalfa Crimson bottlebush Lace flower vine Red berried greenbrier
Algaroba Crimson cup Lace orchid Red edge peperomia
Aloe (flesh only) Crisped feather fern Ladies ear drops Red hawthorne
Aluminum plant Crossandra Lady lou Red veined prayer
Alumroot Croton Lady palm Reed palm
American rubber Cucumber Lagerstroemia indica Rex begonia
Anthericum comosum Cushon aloe Lance Pleumele Rhynchophorum
Antirrhinum multiflorum Cushion moss Larch Roosevelt fern
Arabian gentian Cyrtudeira reptans Large Lady Palm Rose
Aralia   Laurel-leaved greenbrier Royal velvet plant
Arbutus Dahlia Leather peperomia Rubber plant, baby
Areca, Butterfly Cane Dainty Leng-fen tu'an Russian olive
Aregelia Dainty rabbits-foot fern Lemon Balm
Artillery plant Dallas fern Leopard orchid Saffron spike zebra
Ash Dancing doll orchid Lesser snapdragon Sand verbena
Dandelion Lilac Satin pellionia
Aspidium falcatum Date Linden
Aspidastra Davallia bullata mariessi Lipstick plant Scabious
Aubepine Davallia Little zebra plant Scarlet orchid
Autumn olive Daylily richomanoides Little fantasy peperomia Scarlet sage
  Desert trumpet Living rock cactus Schefflera
Baby’s tears Dichelostemma Living stones Sensative Plant
Bachelors buttons Dichorisandra reginae Locust pods Shagbark hickory
Ball fern Dill Lou-lang-t'ou Shan ku'ei-lai
Bamboo Dinteranthus vanzylii Luther Shellbark hickory
Bamboo palm Dogwood   Shiny leaf smilax
Bamboo vine Donkey tail Madagascar jasmine Shrimp cactus
Banana Dracaena Magnolia bush Silver bell
Banana squash Dragon Tree Marigold Silver berry
Barberry Duffy fern Maidenhair Fern Silver heart
Beech Dwarf date palm Mahonia aquifolium Silver-leaf peperomia
Begonia species Dwarf feather fern Malabar gourd Silver nerve plant
Belmore sentry palm Dwarf palm Malaysian dracaema Silver pink vine
Big shellbark hickory Dwarf Rose-Stripe Star Manila palm Silver star
Birch Dwarf royal palm Manzanita Silver table fern
Bird’s Nest Fern Dwarf whitman fern Mapleleaf begonia Silver tree anamiga
Bitter pecan Earth star Maranta Slender deutzia
Bitternut Easter cattleya Marbled fingernail Small fruited hickory
Black haw Easter daisy Maroon Smilax tamnoides vas
Black hawthorn Easter lily cactus May Apple Spearmint
Blaspheme vine Easter orchid Mary-bud Spice orchid
Blood Leaf Echeveria Measles plant Spider ivy
Blooming sally Edible banana Melons Spider plant
Bluebottle Elephant-Ear Begonia Metallic peperomia Spotted laurel
Blue bead Elephant foot tree Metallic leaf begonia Spruce
Blue daisy Elk’s Horn Mexican firecracker Squarenut
Blue echeveria Elm Mexican rosettes Squirrels foot fern
Blue-dicks Emerald ripple peperomia Mexican snowballs Staghorn, Elk’s Horn
Blue-eyed daisy English hawthorn Miniature date palm Star jasmine
Blunt leaf peperomia Epidendrum Minature fish tail Star plant
Blushing bromeliad Episcia spp. Minature maranta Star tulip
Bold sword fern Eucalyptus Minature marble plant Star window plant
Boston fern Eugenia Mistletoe cactus Strawberry
Bottlebrush Euopean fan
Mockernut hickory String of Beads
Bottle Palm Monkey Plant Striped blushing
Bougainvillea False aralia Mosaic plant Sugar pods
Brazilian orchid Fairy fountain Moses-in-the-cradle Sulfur flower
Bride's bonnet Fan tufted palm Mosiac vase Summer hyacinth
Bristly greenbrier Feather fern Moss agate Swedish ivy
Bromeliads Feathered amaranth Moss campion Sweetheart hoya
Broom hickory Fiery reed orchid Moss fern Sweetheart peperomia
Brodiaea pulchella Fig leaf gourd Moss phlox Sweet william
Butterfly ginger Figleaf palm Moss rose Sword fern
Butterfly iris Fingernail plant Mossy campion  
Bullbrier Fir Mother-In-Law’s Tongue Tahitian bridal veil
Bur gourd Fire weed Mother fern Tailed orchid
Burro's tail Fish tail fern Mother spleenwort Tall feather fern
Buttercup squash Flame african violet Mother of pearl Tall mahonia
Butterfly Cane Flame of the woods Mountain camellia Teasel gourd
Butterfly squash Flame violet Mountain grape Texas sage
  Florida butter-fly orchid Mulberry bush greenbrier Thea japonica
Caeroba Forster sentry palm Mulberry tree Thimble cactus
Calamint Fortunes palm Musa paradisiaca Thistle
Calathea insignis Freckle face Muscari armeniacum Thorn apple
Calendula(Pot Marigold) Friendship plant Muscari spp. Ti Plant
Calthea lancifolia Frosty Muskmellon Ti hu-ling
California pitcher plant     Tiger orchid
California Holly Garden marigold Nadina Toad spotted cactus
Callistemon radyandrus Garden snapdragon Narrow leafed pleomele Tous-les-mois
Callistemon viminalis Gardenia Nasturtium Trailing peperomia
Callistemon citrinus Garlic Natal plum Tree cactus
Calochortus nuttalli German violet Neanthe bella palm Tree gloxinia
Camellia Gherkins Nematanthus spp. Tropical moss
Chamonile Ghost leafless orchid Neanthebella True cantalope
Canada hemlock Ghost plant Neoregelia Tu fu-ling
Canary date palm Giant aster Nephrolepsis Tulip poplar
Candle plant Giant holly fern Nerve plant New silver and bronze Tulip tree
Candycorn plant Giant white inch plant Night blooming cereus Turban squash
Cantebury-bell Gibasis geniculata    
Cape jasmine Globe thistle Odontoglossum spp. Umbrella plant
Cape primrose Gloxinia Old man cactus Urbinia agavoides
Carob Gold bloom Old world orchid Usambara violet
Carob tree Gold Dust Dracaena Orange star  
Caroba Gold-fish plant Oregon grape Variegated laurel
Carobinha Golden bells Ossifragi vase Variegated oval leaf peperomia
Carolina hemlock Golden lace orchid   Variegated philodendron leaf
Carrion flower Golden shower orchid Paddy’s wig Variegated wandering ew
Carrot flower Good luck palm Painted lady Variegated wax plant
Carrot fern Grape hyacinth Pampus grass Velvet plant
Casaba melon Grape Ivy Panamiga Venus fly trap
Cast Iron plant Grape Vine Pansy orchid Verona fern
Cat brier Great willow herb Paradise palm Verona lace fern
Cat ear Green ripple peperomia Parlor palm Vining peperomia
Cattleya labiata Greenbrier Parlor plant Violet
Celosia globosa   Parsley Violet slipper gloxinia
Celosia plumosa Hagbrier Passion Flower  
Celosia spicata Hardy baby tears Parsley fern Waffle plant
Chamaedorean Hardy gloxinia Peace begonia Walking anthericum
Chaparral Haws Peacock plant Wandering Jew
Chenille plant Haws apple Pearl plant Washington hawthorn
Chestnut Haworthia Pearly dots Water hickory
Chicken-gizzard Hawthorn Peperomia hederifolia Watermelon begonia
Chickens and hens Hedgehog gourd Peperomia peltifolia Watermelon peperomia
Chickweed Hellfetter Peperomia rotundifolia Watermelon pilea
Chicory Hemlock tree Peperomia sandersii Wax plant
Chin-lao-shu Hen and chickens fern Pepper face Wax rosette
China aster Hens and chickens Peppermint Weeping bottlebrush
China root Hibiscus Peperomia Weeping sergeant hemlock
Chinese plumbago Hickory
Persian violet Weisdornbluten
Chlorophytum Hindu rope plant Petunia West indian gherkin
Chlorophytum bechetii Holligold Pheasant plant Western sword
Chocolate soldier Holly fern Piggy back plant White Clover
Christmas dagger Hollyhock Pigmy date palm White ginger
Christmas palm Honey locust Pignut White edged swedish ivy
Christmas orchid Honey plant Pignut hickory White heart hickory
Cinnamon Honeydew melons Pilea microphylla Whitman fern
Cinquefoil Honeysuckle fuchsia Pilea mucosa Wild buckwheat
Cirrhopetalum Hookera pulchella Pink Brocade Wild hyacinth
Cissus Kangaroo Vines Horse brier Pink Pearl Wild lantana
Claw Cactus Hoya Pink polka dot plant Wild sarsaparilla
Clearweed Hubbard squash Pink starlite Wild strawberry
Cliff brake Hypocyrta spp. Pirliteiro Willow
Cocks comb
Pitaya Willow herb
Cocktail orchid Ice plant Pittosporum Windmill palm
Coleus Imbricata sword fern Plantanus orientalis Winter cattleya
Collinia elegans Impatiens Plantanus occidentalis Withered snapdragon
Color-band Indian Hawthorn Platinum peperomia Woolflower
Columnar Irish moss Platycerium alicicorne  
Comfry Iron cross begonia Plumbago larpentiae Yellow bloodleaf
Common camellia Iron tree Plush plant Yellow-flowered gourd
Common catbrier Ivy peperomia Polka dot plant Yerba Linda
Common garden canna Ivy-leaf peperomia Polystichum falcatum Yucca
Common greenbrier Jackson brier Pony tail Palm  
Common snapdragon Jacob's ladder Poplar Zebra haworthia
Common staghorn fern Jade Plant Porcelain flower Zebra plant
Confederate jasmine Japanese aralia Pot marigold Zinnia sp.
Coolwort Japanese holly fern Prairie snowball Zucchini squash
Copperlead Japanese moss Prayer plant  
Copper rose Japanese pittosporum Prickly bottlebrush  
Coralardisia Jasmine Prostrate coleus  
Coral bells Jewel orchid Purple baby tears  
Coralberry Joseph's coat Purple passion vine  
Cornflower Jungle geranium Purple Velvet  
  Purple waffle plant  
Crab Apple Kaempferis Purpleosier willow  
Crape myrtle Kahali ginger Pyracanthus  
Crataegus phaenopyrum Kalanchoe    
Crataegus spp. Kenilworth ivy Queen's spiderwort  
Creeping charlie Kentia palm Queencup  
Creeping gloxinia Kenya palm Queens spiderwort  

Safe Trees for Perches

Citrus (all) Grape vines Hawthorn Pear
Almond Guava Larch Pine (not with stick sap)
Apple Cactus Wood Magnolia Plum
Apricot Cottonwood Madrona Poplar
Arbutus Crab Apple Mansanita Prune
Ash Dogwood Mulberry Thurlow
Beech Elm Papaya Vine Maple
Birch Fir Peach Willow

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