Cactus Thorns are not poisonous to people but leaving the thorns inside your skin can lead to infections. Cactus thorn is also not poisonous but the best rule is to remove the spike from your skin to prevent any further issues that the spine might cost.

Are cactus poisonous?

Don’t worry! If you’re growing cacti, there is a chance you’re going to get poked. But no matter how clumsy you are, you don’t ever need to worry about cactus poison.

To be clear: it’s not quite that there’s no such thing as. There are toxic cactus out there, but they aren’t going to be the kind you buy as garden or houseplants; is only found in wild plants, and it’s very uncommon. (When you think about it, a plant covered in spikes isn’t going to need poison to keep predators away).

Even if there is poison in the cactus, it won’t be in the thorns but the flesh. As long as you aren’t trying to eat one, you are never going to run into trouble with cactus poison. Still, cactus pokes can hurt, and you should treat an injury from a cactus thorn with a bit of care.

How Often To Water Cacti

Are your succulents dying? Do you need urgent help to keep them alive? Don’t worry! This ebook will solve the problems. I shared all my secrets related to how to water succulents with you.

Are Cactus Thorns Poisonous?

Picture via Pixabay

What are cactus thorns?

A cactus has small or nonexistent leaves, and “areoles”—small, short shoots that may become the cactus’ spines, flowers or branches. Most cacti are adapted to live in arid environments, and their photosynthesis is done by the body (or trunk) of the plant, so they don’t need leaves.

There are dozens of types of cacti sold for gardens and indoor cultivation. They make wonderful houseplants because they’re great-looking and very low-maintenance. A cactus is also one of the sturdiest, longest-lived houseplants you can get. All a cactus needs to thrive is lots of sunlight and very little water. Look at the article “’How Long Do Cacti Live?” to find out about how many types of cacti there are and how to preserve your plants as long as possible.

Many varieties are pretty much prickle-free, and absolutely none of them are going to poison you.

Are Cactus Thorns Poisonous?

Picture via Pixabay

Why the thorns?

Cactus spikes are mainly a defense mechanism, keeping the cactus safe from hungry animals, but they are also a way for the cactus to conserve moisture. Having thorns instead of leaves means the cactus loses as little water from its surface as possible. Learn more about how they’ve adapted to retain water and grow slowly in ‘How Fast Do Cacti Grow?’


Cactus Poison


The thorns can look like needles, spikes, hair or fuzz—there’s a huge variety, and it’s the easiest way to identify what kind of cactus you’re looking at.


There are two types of cactus thorns, which are actually highly adapted leaves. (A rose or blackberry thorn, in contrast, is modified kind of branch or stem).

A thorn that is on the longer side and well-attached to the cactus is usually known as a “spine.” These are what we frequently think of when we imagine a big spiky cactus out in the desert, or a little spiky cactus on your windowsill. There are also “glochids,” which are smaller, hair-like spines that detach easily from the cactus—Prickly Pear and Cholla are both glochid-type cacti. You’ll rarely find them cultivated as domestic plants.

Although getting pricked by a cactus spine is painful, it’s actually the glochids that are going to cause the most trouble, because the tiny barbs can stay painfully in your skin.

Are Cactus Thorns Poisonous?

Picture via Pixabay

What to do if you’re pricked by a cactus:

If you’re poked by a cactus spine, it probably hasn’t broken off. In that case, all you need to do is clean the wound with soap and water and bandage if necessary.

If a spine or piece of spine has broken off in your skin, treat it like a splinter and remove it carefully with tweezers. Don’t pinch the skin to try to squeeze it out, which can actually cause the spine to break apart. If you have a hard time getting it out, try soaking the injury in warm water for a few minutes and trying again. Then clean the wound, apply antibiotic ointment and pop on a bandage for a day or two.

How Fast Do Cacti Grow?

Just because a cactus spine isn’t poisonous doesn’t mean it can’t cause some trouble if you don’t treat it right. If a piece of spine breaks off in your skin, it’s very important to remove it and clean the injury. There is sometimes inflammatory bacteria or fungus on the outside of a cactus spine. Any kind of splinter, left in your skin, is going to be at a higher risk of infection than a non-organic material like glass or metal, so be careful if any kind of plant thorn breaks your skin.

Whats The Diffirence Between Succulents And Cacti?

Are Cactus Thorns Poisonous?

Picture via Pixabay

Are your succulents dying? Do you need urgent help to keep them alive? Don’t worry! This ebook will solve the problems. I shared all my secrets related to how to water succulents with you.

The glochids—the little hairy barbs you see on some wild cacti—are going to be a lot more unpleasant. Similar to nettles, they are hard to get out of your skin, and your first impulse—to scratch or scrub—will probably make things worse. Brush a piece of soft fabric across your dry skin a few times without pressing down. The last thing you want to do is force the barb further into your skin.

If that doesn’t work, try laying a piece of tape across the barbs—duct tape or medical tape work great—and then carefully lifting it off. This should pull the little barbs off. If you don’t have any success there, you may need to get even stickier—spread out a thin layer of glue or clear nail polish and let it dry. When you peel it off, it should take all of the barbs with it. Failing to remove all the glochids from your skin can result in

irritation or contact dermatitis (a red, itchy rash).

How To Propagate Cacti The Right Way!

Are Cactus Thorns Poisonous?

Picture via Pixabay

This is useful to know if you ever stumble into a prickly pear while you’re out hiking in the desert: you risk skin irritation comes from the many tiny barbs, but there is no cactus poison in the prickles. If you don’t spend much time in the desert, it isn’t likely to come up.

For the most part, the thorns on a cactus look sharper than they really are, and you don’t need to worry about cactus poison . Cacti make wonderful houseplants, and it’s very rare for a poke to even break skin.

As long as nobody tries to squeeze your cactus (or eat it) you’ll be absolutely fine.

Why Do Cacti Have Needles?

Many people often wonder, ‘Why do cacti have spines?’ Well, there is a simple answer to that question. Cacti have spines so it can easier survive the challenging environment that it usually grows in. An excellent example of that is cacti that grow in deserts. There these needles provide multiple functions such as to protect them from predators and provide shade to help regulate temperature. Spines also help reducing water loss that would otherwise accrue as well as assisting the plant to reproduce and spread out.

Explore 13 Of The Rarest Cacti Out There!

Flowered succulents
How to propagate powder puff cactus
Hydroponic Nutrient Solution Guide
succulents winter