Georgia Dixon


The popular pot plant that is landing Aussies in hospital

The popular pot plant that is landing Aussies in hospital

The humble yucca can be found in many households across Australia, but experts are warning this popular plant could land you in hospital with serious ear injuries. No, we’re not joking.

According to a recent study, the yucca, with its sword-shaped leaves has been involved in at least 28 cases of ear trauma since August 2012 – though this number is expected to be higher, given many incidents would go unreported.

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Professor Stephen O’Leary, co-author of a study published in medical journal Clinical Otolaryngology, says that as bizarre as it sounds, the risks posed by yuccas are no laughing matter.

“You wouldn’t think that a little pointy leaf that goes into your ear could possibly cause serious injury [but] it’s more like a fencing sword; it’s narrow enough to get right down through the ear drum,” Professor O’Leary told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Most of us were surprised when we started getting these cases through, but then we looked back and thought, hang on, this is happening a lot. And it can go really wrong indeed.”

The yucca has become massively popular in recent years thanks to its modern look and virtual indestructability, but Professor O’Leary says it’s important to be careful around its sharp leaves. Though uncertain as to how the incidents occurred, he says it’s likely the injuries happened while moving the plant or doing gardening.

He wants Australians to know that a yucca-related ear injury should be treated as a medical emergency needing immediate treatment.

But before you give your yucca the old heave-ho, Professor O’Leary recommends simply trimming the sharp points. “The yucca plant is a nice plant and we don’t want to say it’s not. But you might want to think about giving it a bit of a haircut – and just think about where those spiky little fronds are pointing.”

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