Potato - green tubers and sprouts

Alternative names 
Solanum tuberosum

Poisoning caused by consumption of green tubers and/or new sprouts of the potato plant.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • solanine (very toxic even in small quantities)

Where Found

The toxin is found throughout the plant but especially in green potatoes and in the 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.


  • body as a whole       o hypothermia (lower than normal body temperature)       o paralysis       o shock       o fever  
  • respiratory       o slowed breathing  
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o dilated pupils       o vision changes  
  • gastrointestinal       o stomach or Abdominal pain       o Vomiting       o diarrhea  
  • heart and blood vessels:       o slow pulse  
  • nervous system:       o headache       o delirium       o loss of sensation       o hallucinations

Home Treatment

Call poison control.

Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Bring the plant with you to the emergency room for identification.

What to expect at the emergency room
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed on the patient:

  • Induce Vomiting.  
  • Use gastric lavage.  
  • Activated charcoal.  
  • Treat the symptoms

Expectations (prognosis)
Death has been reported but is rare.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Martin A. Harms, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.