What is Acute Toxicity? Symptoms & Examples

What is Acute Toxicity? — Symptoms & Examples


Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

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Acute Toxicity

An acute toxicity refers to a poisonous state (and its adverse effects) that has a combination of the following aspects:

  • It is sudden in onset
  • It is severe in nature
  • It has a rapidly changing course of progress
  • It is of a relatively short duration
  • It is caused by exposure to a large dose of a weak toxin or a small dose of a potent (powerful) toxin. This can happen once or numerous times over a short period of time.

Let’s learn about some of the signs and symptoms we might see with acute toxicities as well as look into some examples of acute toxicities as well.


The types of substances that can lead to acute toxicities are vast. They range from medications to natural compounds and even household products. As a result, the exact compound, its dose, as well as how the body is exposed to it will determine the signs and symptoms of a specific acute toxicity.

Let’s take one example of this, based on a true story. Robert was smelting dental fillings at home with a group of four friends. He thought he was going to make a lot of money by purifying the silver out of the dental amalgam. Little did he know that these dental amalgams contained mercury, an extremely toxic metal. As he heated the dental fillings to extract the metal, mercury vapors entered the air around him and his friends.

Within 24 hours of their at-home smelting operation, Robert and his friends developed the following signs and symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremors
  • Increased excitability
  • Respiratory failure

And eventually, every single one of them died within a month. Despite possible fatal or long-term toxic effects to the body, mercury compounds are still widely used in various industries.


Jake was messing around with his friends when they dared him to do something really dangerous. They will give him $100 to drink chlorine, an extremely powerful and poisonous chemical used to disinfect surfaces like floors. Jake didn’t really know what chlorine was, so he drank the chlorine and started to first simply vomit and then, eventually, vomit blood. He also developed:

  • Extreme abdominal pain
  • Blood in the stool
  • Burns on his esophagus and, consequently, throat pain
  • Swelling of the throat

Jake was lucky to survive since one of his friends reacted immediately by calling emergency services and the poison control center.


Amy works in a plant that produces pesticides. One day, she accidentally spilled a pesticide on her skin. Shortly thereafter, Amy noticed the following signs and symptoms:

  • Red skin
  • Swelling of the skin
  • Blisters
  • Burning/severe pain
  • Ulcers (sores)
  • Necrosis (death of the skin)
  • Peeling of the skin

But that wasn’t the end of Amy’s problems. See, some of the pesticide was absorbed through the skin and, thus, made it into her bloodstream. This has caused her to develop:

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St. Andrew’s Cross Spider

The St. Andrews Cross Spider (Argiope keyserlingi) is a common species of orb-web spider found on the east coast of Australia, from central New South Wales to southern Queensland. The St. Andrew’s Cross Spider is very similar in appearance to the closely related north Queensland species, Argiope aetherea (another common, large orb-web spider).

The X shape is called the St. Andrew’s cross because it is believed that the saint was martyred on a cross of this shape rather than the conventional cross shape.

St Andrew’s Cross Spider Characteristics

St. Andrew’s Cross Spiders are named for their bright web decorations. They have zigzag ribbons of bluish-white silk that form a full or partial cross through the centre of the orb web. Females have a silvery carapace and a silver, yellow, red and black banded upper abdomen with two longitudinal yellow stripes below.

The St. Andrew’s Cross Spider sits with the legs in pairs. The brown and cream coloured males are smaller than females. The body length of the male measures around 3 – 4 millimetres while the females are larger at 10 – 16 millimetres.

St Andrew’s Cross Spider Habitat and Spider Webs

Like many other spiders, only the female St. Andrews Cross spider builds the webs. These spiders build medium-sized orb webs, occupied day and night, on low shrubby vegetation.

These orb webs are 38 – 50 millimetres wide and contain only 2 stabilimentum (conspicuous silk structures). Argiope versicolor, which is found inland, makes the ‘full’ cross with 4 stabilimentum. The zigzag lines of their webs match their leg positions, which lead some people to suggest that this helps give the appearance of longer legs. Some spiders build a single vertical line, yet others a patch of zigzags in the centre of the web. No matter what the design is, this spider sits right in the middle of the web at all times.

When prey is caught in the web, the spider throws out broad swathes of white silk to immobilise the prey, then rapidly rotates it to tighten the binding before administering the fatal bite. Small spiders which are unable to rotate the prey, run around the prey instead as they throw out binding silk.

When threatened, the spider responds, either by dropping from the web or shaking it so vigorously that both spider and stabilimentum become a blur which confuses the attacker. These measures do not always succeed, as indicated by empty, damaged webs and the presence of these spiders as food in the mud cells of wasps.

St Andrew’s Cross Spider Diet

St. Andrews Cross spiders prey includes flies, moths, butterflies, beetles and bees. These are usually secured by silk wrapping into a neat parcel before being bitten – although smaller prey may be bitten first.

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St Andrew’s Cross Spider Reproduction

Mating occurs in summer-autumn The male spider is much smaller than the female and unassumingly marked. When it is time to mate, he spins a companion web alongside the females. After mating, the female lays her eggs, placing her egg sac into the web. The sac contains between 400 and 1,400 eggs. These eggs hatch in autumn, however, the spiderlings overwinter in the sac and emerge during the spring. The egg sac is composed of multiple layers of silk and designed to protect its contents from damage; however, many species of insects have been observed to parasite the egg sacs.

St Andrew’s Cross Spider Venom

The bite of the St Andrews Cross Spider is of low risk to humans. St Andrews Cross Spiders are a non-aggressive group of spiders. There are no reported instances of any serious consequences of human contact with these spiders except the fright of walking into their large web and the spider crawling over the person involved.

St Andrews Cross Spiders are spectacular and may be quite alarming if one is not familiar with them, however, they are not dangerous. They might bite if grabbed, however, other than for defence they have no interest in biting humans. Their venom is not regarded as a serious medical problem for humans.


Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — Description and Uses

Αρχική | Home » PLANTS » Botanical Description, Varieties & Utilisation of Spider Plant

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is one of the most useful and highly ornamental indoor plants. Actually not exactly that, but some of its variegated leaves varieties, of which the most common and recognizable of all is Chlorophytum comosum ‘Variegatum’.

And then, someone perhaps wonder, why the following article is dedicated to Chlorophytum comosum Neat and not to Chlorophytum comosum ‘Variegatum’?

The answer that the whole editorial team of ‘Kalliergeia’ could give is categorical:

Chlorophytum comosum propagates quite easily with babies growing at the nobes of its spiderettes (Stolons)

Spider Plant Origin

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Description and Uses

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — Brief Description

Scientific name

Chlorophytum comosum (Thunb.) Jacques

Common name(s)

Spider Plant, Airplane Plant, St. Bernard’s Lily, Spider Ivy, Ribbon Plant, Hen and Chickens

General Characteristics

Type of foliage: Evergreen

Form: Herbasceous perenial

Height indoors: 0.40-0.50 m (1.3-1.6 ft)

Flowering period (Tropics): Sporadically through the year

Flowering period indoors: Sporadically through the year

Fruiting period: Sporadically through the year

Shapes and Colours

Foliage colour: Green

Foliage colour in autumn: Green

Flowers colour: White


Soil type: Well-drained, sand, loam, clay

Exposure: Half-shade

Hardiness: -3.9 °C (25 °F – USDA Hardiness zone 9b)

Mass planting, urban planting, pots and containers indoor and outdoor

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Description and Uses

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — Etymology

Etymology of the Genus Name

The name of the genus Chlorophytum is a compound Neo-Latin word that comes from Ancient Greekχλωρός‘ (pale green) and ‘φυτόν‘ (plant). Both have an Indo-European root, the first being *ǵʰelh₃-, which means ‘the green of new growth‘ and the second is *bʰuH-, which means ‘to appear, become, rise up‘.

Etymology of the Species Name

The name of the species comosum has a literally ornamental hue: it is the Neo-Latin version of the Ancient Greek word ‘κόμη‘ which means ‘the hair‘. And of course it is easy understandable that such a name excellently attributes the Spider Plant’s ‘tuft’ distinctive habit.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Description and Uses

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — Origin, Distribution & Life Span

Central and South Africa are the cradle of Spider Plant. More precisely, the tropical and subtropical zone of the continent, which includes from west Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon and to the east almost all countries from Ethiopia to South Africa.

It occurs in a variety of environments ranging from sea level up to 1000 m and on sedimentary or volcanic soils, which are derived from granite, dolerite, shale and sandstone. In its natural niches the average annual rainfall is between 500 and 2000 mm.

The Chlorophytum comosum is highly adaptable to environments suitable for its development. It has been fully naturalised in Ecuador, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, the Korean Peninsula, and Western and Eastern Australia. Especially in Australia it has even been classified as invasive – weed.

Life Span

The Spider Plant, thanks to the regeneration capability offered by its stolons, could be described as an immortal plant – Highlander. A Highlander who lives for about 25 years, however, under conditions of growing in a pot is recommended to renew it every 3 to 5 years.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Description and Uses

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — Morphological Elements

Spider Plant is an evergreen, perennial plant with tuberous roots and tuft appearance. At height and diameter it does not exceed 50 cm, but it can be spread on the ground and cover a considerable area. Its foliage is of medium density, and has a fine texture. As a pot or indoor plant may have an attractive appearance of hanging form.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Description and Uses

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — Botanical Description

Spider Plant has a dense root system consisting of thickened elongated white fleshy tubers and fine roots. The tubers have a conical shape at both ends, their length being between 5 and 10 cm (2-4 in) and their diameter between 0.5 and 1 cm (0.2-0.4 in).


They are the characteristic shoots of Spider Plant that grow sideways. From each nobe of the stolon, the spiderettes form leaves and roots. With spiderettes the plant spreads vegetatively and it is a way without difficulty to propagate the Spider Plant.


Rise directly from the rhizome to form a rosette. They are simple, without petiole, linear-lanceolate, of alternate arrangement and have a deep green color. The lamina is flat, with parallel ribs, entire or slightly undulate margined, leading to a pointed tip. The dimensions of the leaves vary in length between 20 and 45 cm (7.8-17.7 in) and in the width between 0.6 and 2.5 cm (0.23-0.98 in).


The flowers are monoecious (hermaphrodite) and complete their biological cycle within a few hours. They are brought 1 to 6 together on a paniculate inflorescence, the axis of which is initially erect, but in full growth curves, forming an arc of 30 to 75 cm (11-30 in) in length. Where the inflorescence touches the ground leafy plantlets and roots are produced.

Each individual flower has a star-like shape, diameter of 1.8 to 2 cm (0.7-0.8 in) and consists of 3 elongated sepals and 3 petals 0.6 to 1 cm (0.23-0.4 in) long. Stamens are 6, with fine filament of 0.3 to 0.5 cm (0.11-0.2 in) in length, with an anther of 0.3 to 0.35 cm (0.11-0.14 in) long. The style is short and smooth with a tiny and capitate stigma.


The fruit is a three-cell capsule containing 9 to 45 smooth and flat black seeds.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Description and Uses

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — Climate and Soil

Spider Plant can not withstand the frost. The minimum temperatures, which are also the lowest strength limit, range between -1.1 and -3.9 °C. At temperatures between 0 and -3.9 °C (32-25 °F), its overground part is completely destroyed, but in the spring the plant regrows.

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With high temperatures it does not encounter any problems, while the most suitable temperatures for its development are those between 18 and 32 °C (64.4-89.6 °F).

Soil and pH

Chlorophytum comosum grows in almost all soil types provided they drain well. Indeed fully installed plants show remarkably high drought tolerance.

In terms of pH, it grows over a wide range of values, ranging from 5.5 to 7.5, but thrives on slightly acidic soils with values ranging from 6 to 6.5.


Spider Plants can be planted or placed in half-shaded sites. However, when grown as indoor plants it is recommended to always place them in extremely bright places – especially the highly decorative variegated leaves varieties

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Description and Uses

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — Plant Protection

Spider Plant does not face serious problems from pests and diseases. However, it does not fall short of other plants on parasites, because it may be immortal, but it is not invulnerable.


The most common pests include Mealybugs, Scales, Mites, and Thrips – especially Banded Greenhouse Thrips (Hercinothrips femoralis). By using the appropriate insecticides and acaricides the treatment is satisfactory.


Fungal Leaf Spots (Alternaria sp., Cercospora sp., Fusarium sp.and Phyllosticta spp.) and Fungal Root (Pythium splendens, Rhizoctonia solani and Sclerotium rolfsii) may affect the plant. By using the appropriate fungicides their treatment is satisfactory.

On the other hand, of the bacterial pathogens, Erwinia carotovora and Pseudomonas cichorii are the most common diseases of the plant, which are extremely difficult to control.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Description and Uses

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — Toxicity & Allergenicity

No part of Spider Plant is toxic to humans or pets.


People with sensitivity may be allergic to the pollen of the male part of the flower.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Description and Uses

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — Varieties & Cultivars

Chlorophytum comosum is one of the most popular ornamental plants with worldwide demand. This results in the creation of dozens of varieties, some of the most important of which are listed below.

Chlorophytum comosum Variegatum

It is the most widespread variety of the plant. Its leaves have green margins and a characteristic white strip in the middle. It is extremely drought-tolerant and moderately salt-tolerant. It grows better in moderate textured sandyloam or loamysand soils as well as sandy.

Chlorophytum comosum ‘Reverse Variegatum’

It differs from the previous one in that its leaves are green inside and the margins are white. For the rest, it has similar properties and requirements to that one.

Chlorophytum comosum ‘Ocean’

It is of less growth than the typical species. It has narrower leaves with a larger width, stronger green in the middle and white margins.

Chlorophytum comosum ‘Lemon’

Extremely interesting variety with attractive hues green leaves. It has similar characteristics and requirements to those of the typical species.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – Description and Uses

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) — Use

Spider Plant’s value is not only ornamental but also medicinal. However, another aspect of it was highlighted by NASA‘s famous research on indoor air-purifying plants, including Chlorophytum comosum.


In ethnobotany, the plant is used in various traditional medical systems around the world. In Chinese Traditional Medicine, the tubular roots are given for the treatment of bronchitis, burns, and for bone fractures.

Use as Indoor Plant

Spider Plant is also an excellent choice for interior design of both home and professional spaces. Additionally, over decorative it also has functional value, because because as mentioned above it cleans the indoor air from the dangerous toxic substances formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. For air filtration to be effective, 1 plant per 10 m 2 (100 ft) is needed.

Use in Garden and Landscape

In areas suitable for its growth, it can be planted both on the ground and in pots but always at half-shade exposures.

Thus, it could be said that Spider Plant is being exploited:

  • As a groundcoverplant
  • In plantings to protect the soil from erosion
  • In mass plantingof gardens or parks
  • As an intensive or extensive greenroofsplant
  • In combination with other plants, such as Bush lilies (Clivia miniata), Cape jasmines (Gardenia jasminoides), Dwarf Umbrella Trees (Schefflera arboricola‘Variegata’) and Roses of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)


Common Spiders: Poisonous or Painful?

Are the spiders you commonly encounter around your home harmful or harmless? Keep reading to find out which ones you should avoid.

Brown Recluse Spider

Venom toxicity – the brown recluse venom can cause significant injury with tissue loss and necrosis.

Habitat – brown recluse is found in the United States from the east to the west coast, with predominance in the south.

Spider Identification – an adult spider is 1/4 to 3/4 inch in body – a dark violin shape is located on the top of the leg attachment region with the neck of the violin pointing backward toward the abdomen. Unlike most spiders that have 8 eyes, the brown recluse has 6 eyes arranged in pairs – one pair in front and a pair on either side.

Black Widow Spider

Venom toxicity – the Back Widow Spider can inflict a painful bite which can be fatal, especially to the young and elderly. An effective anti-venom was developed in 1956. Only a small amount of venom can cause serious illness, as the poison attacks the nervous system. Systemic envenomisation usually results in headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, pyrexia and hypertension. The pain around the bite area can be excruciating or it may go unnoticed. First aid and medical attention should be sought as soon as possible, if bitten. If you have heart condition or other heart problem, you may need hospitalization.

Habitat – prefers woodpiles, rubble piles, under stones, in hollow stumps, sheds and garages. Indoors it can be found in undisturbed, cluttered areas in basements and crawl spaces.

Spider Identification – the body of an adult black widow is about 1/2 inch long. The female black widow is normally shiny black, with a red hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen. The marking may range in color from yellowish orange to red and its shape may range from an hourglass to a dot.

Hobo Spider

Venom toxicity – although the bite of the hobo spider is initially painless, the bite can be serious. After 24 hours, the bite develops into a blister and after 24-36 hours, the blister breaks open, leaving an open, oozing ulceration. Typically when the venom is injected, the victim will experience an immediate redness, which develops around the bite. The most common reported symptom is severe headache. Other symptoms can include nausea, weakness, fatigue, temporary memory loss and vision impairment. In any case, first aid and medical attention should be sought, if bitten, as and when any adverse health effects are observed.

Habitat – they can be found anywhere in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. They rarely climb vertical surfaces and are uncommon above basements or ground level.

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Spider Identification – they are brown in color and the adults measure roughly 1/3 to 2/3 inch in body length and 2/3 to 2 inches in leg span. Their abdomens have several chevron shaped markings. Males are distinctively different from females in that they have two large palpi (mouth parts) that look like boxing gloves. Females tend to have a larger and rounder abdomen when compared to males.

Funnel Web Spider

Venom toxicity – the bite of these spiders is of low risk to humans.

Habitat – These spiders are often called grass spiders because they construct their webs in tall grass, heavy ground cover and the branches of thick shrubs. Rarely will a funnel web spider be seen indoors, except for an occasional wandering male. They are found mostly in the Pacific Northwest states.

Spider Identification – are common outdoors and are occasionally found indoors. They are generally brownish or grayish with light and dark stripes near the head. They have long spinnerets and are moderate-sized (3/4 inch long). Grass spiders construct a large sheet web with a funnel they use as a retreat. These webs are commonly built on the ground, around steps, window wells, foundations, and low shrubs.

Mouse Spider

Venom toxicity – known to cause severe illness, especially to young children – similar to Red-Back Spider. Although normally not aggressive, the male mouse spider will bite if provoked, and should be considered dangerous to humans. It has large hard fangs which can cause a deep painful bite. First aid and medical attention (ambulance) should be sought as soon as possible.

Habitat – Mouse spiders are ground dwellers with burrows of more than 3 feet deep. The male often wanders about during the day on open ground, especially after rain, in search of females.

Spider Identification – a medium to large spider of up to 1 and 1/2 inches in body length. The male Mouse Spider often has a bright red head and elongated fangs.

Black House Spider

Venom toxicity – the bite of the Black House Spider is poisonous but not lethal. Certain people bitten experience severe pain around the bite site, heavy sweating, muscular pains, vomiting, headaches and giddiness. First aid and medical attention (ambulance) should be sought as soon as possible.

Habitat – this spider spins a lacy, messy web and is prefers dry habitats in secluded locations. It is commonly found in window framing, under eaves, gutters, in brickwork, sheds, toilets and among rocks and bark. Electric lights attract their prey – moths, flies, mosquitoes and other insects.

Spider Identification – adults are about 1/2 inch in body length and of a dark brown to black velvet textured appearance.

Wolf Spider

Venom toxicity – the bite of the Wolf Spider is poisonous but not lethal. Although non-aggressive, they bite freely if provoked and should be considered dangerous to humans. The bite may be very painful. First aid and medical attention should be sought as soon as possible, particularly as to children or the elderly.

Habitat – this spider is a ground dweller, with a burrow retreat. It has a roving nocturnal lifestyle to hunt their prey and can move very rapidly when disturbed. Commonly found around the home, in garden areas with a silk lined burrow, sometimes with a lid or covered by leaf litter or grass woven with silk as a little fence around the rim of the burrow.

Spider Identification – an adult is 1/2 inch to more than 1 inch in body length – mottled gray to brown in color, with a distinct Union Jack impression on its back. The female carries it’s young on its back.

Trap-door Spider

Venom toxicity – the bite of the Trap-Door Spider is of low risk (non toxic) to humans. It is a non-aggressive spider – usually timid but may stand up and present it’s fangs if harassed. Rarely bites – but if so it can be painful.

Habitat – this spider is a ground dweller, with a burrow retreat lined with silk of up to 10 inches in depth and around 1 inch in width – prefers nesting in drier exposed locations – often has a wafer-like lid on the burrow entrance. Trap-Door Spiders are commonly found in the drier open ground areas around the home.

Spider Identification – an adult is about 1 and 1/2 inches in body length – brown to dark brown in color – heavily covered with fine hairs. The male has distinct boxing glove-shaped palps, that is, the two “sensory feelers” at front of its head.

Orb Weaver Spider

Venom toxicity – the bite of Orb-Weaving Spiders is of low risk (not toxic) to humans. They are a non-aggressive group of spiders. Seldom bite. Be careful not to walk into their webs at night – the fright of this spider crawling over one’s face can be terrifying and may cause a heart attack, particularly to the susceptible over 40 year olds.

Habitat – often found in summer in garden areas around the home – they spin a large circular web of 6 feet or more, often between buildings and shrubs, to snare flying insects, such as, flies and mosquitoes.

Spider Identification – an adult is about 2/3 to more than 1 inch in body length – has a bulbous abdomen – often colorful – dark to light brown pattern. The common Golden Orb-Weaver Spider has a purplish bulbous abdomen with fine hairs.

St Andrews Cross Spider

Venom toxicity – the bite of the St Andrews Cross is of low risk (non-toxic) to humans. They are a non-aggressive group of spiders.

Habitat – this spider is a web-weaver usually found in summer in garden areas around the home. It is considered beneficial as it spins a large web to snare flying insects, such as flies and mosquitoes.

Spider Identification – adult 1/4″ to 1/2″ in body length – abdomen striped yellow and brown – as illustrated. The St Andrews Cross Spider usually sits, upside down, in the middle of its web forming a cross.

Huntsman Spider

Venom toxicity – the bite of Huntsman Spiders is of low risk (non toxic) to humans. They are a non-aggressive group of spiders. However, a large individual can give a painful bite. Beware in summer when the female Huntsman Spider is guarding her egg sacs or young.

Habitat – a hunter that prefers to live under the flaking bark of trees, under flat rocks and under eaves or within roof spaces of buildings. The Huntsman Spider often wanders into homes and is found perched on a wall. It is a shy, timid spider that can move sideways at lighting-fast speed when disturbed.

Spider Identification – an adult varies greatly around 1/2″ in body length – has long legs – the diameter of an adult including legs may reach 2″ – the first 2 pairs of legs are longer than rear two – it is hairy – buff to beige brown in color, with dark patches on the body.


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