Not So Dumb After All (the true story of the Dumb Cane)


Olivia Tkach

Dieffenbachia amoena (deef-en-BACK-ee-uh mack-yoo-LAY-tuh) known as the Dumb Cane, is a plant which is widely used for interior landscaping and also as a vibrant houseplant. It is a member of the plant family: Araceae.

Why it's Called the Dumb Cane:

It's named the 'Dumb Cane' plant because any sap from the plant that gets into a human mouth will make the tongue swell, and cause speechlessness in adults and sometimes even kill children and animals.

The History of the Dumb Cane:

The dumb cane plant was used by slave-owners to torture unruly slaves working in Caribbean sugar plantations.

Extract from the leaves will also attack the body's sex cells. In 1941, Heinrich Himmler, then the head of the SS in Nazi Germany, considered using the dumb cane to sterilize war prisoners. This plan failed though due to the difficulty of shipping enough plants over from their natural home in Latin America.


It is possible for the plant to grow up to 6 feet tall. The leaves are generally large and ovate. The leaves themselves have irregular areas of splotches with lighter green, yellow or even cream coloring.

Plant Location:

Even though the dumb cane is known to be tolerate to low light conditions, it can also tolerate higher light conditions, but only when provided with sufficient moisture. The ideal spot for a dumb cane would be a sheltered location and away from direct sunlight.


Go Out and Buy One!

Although the Dumb Cane is highly poisons, and had a pretty rough history; it is a plant loved by all, because of it's unique leaf patterns, and it's ability to be flexible to a variety of light conditions.


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Contact info:

Olivia Tkach

(701) 231-2190