We all know that plants are good for the environment. They help with sustainability, and they give us oxygen to breathe. But some plants have a dark side. These are called poisonous or toxic plants that cause serious injury if they come in contact with your skin or enter your body through ingestion, inhalation, or injection. Here is our list of the most dangerous types of plant life you should be aware of!
Rhus (Toxicodendron Succedaneum)
The Poison Ivy plant is extremely poisonous and thrives in moist wooded areas. The sap of the poison ivy contains an oil called urushiol which causes a severe allergic reaction when you touch it or come into contact with it! Some symptoms may include redness, itching, blisters, burning sensation, and swelling. If you think you’ve been exposed to this toxic substance, seek emergency medical attention right away.
Oleander (Nerium Oleander)
The Oleander is also known as the Rose Bay. This flowering shrub is common in warm climates, and it’s extremely poisonous. All parts of the plant are toxic, and even a tiny amount can be fatal. Some symptoms may include vomiting, confusion, slow or irregular heartbeat. Oleander is often used in landscaping because it’s drought-tolerant, but take care not to let your pets or children near it!
Larkspur (Delphinium Staphisagria)
The Larkspur is also known as “Killer Weed.” It’s native to Eurasia but has been found in North America too. The larkspur contains different forms of alkaloids that cause symptoms such as muscle spasms, seizures, coma, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, loss of coordination, blurred vision, or rapid breathing.
Ivy (Hedera Helix)
This is also known as English Ivy or European Ivy, and while commonly used for decoration purposes like indoor plants, they are extremely poisonous because of their triterpenoid sap content. All parts of the ivy are harmful but especially so when ingested orally by humans or animals who have sensitive stomachs. Sometimes, being around large amounts of poison ivy pollen can trigger health problems like asthma, hay fever, and other respiratory issues. Seek medical attention right away if you have any negative reactions to this plant!
Coral tree (Erythrina Genus)
This tree is in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, Australia, and America. The bark contains a powerful toxin called erythrina, used as an arrow poison by hunters for centuries. Ingesting this bark can cause blindness or death, so steer clear of it! Some symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, coma, or lethargy.
Arum Lily (Zantedeschia Aethiopica)
This beautiful flower is native to South Africa and can be found in warmer climates worldwide. The Arum Lily plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, making it very harmful if ingested orally. It may cause burning sensations as well as swelling of your tongue and throat, making it difficult for you to breathe! If this happens, call emergency medical attention immediately! Symptoms may include pain, swelling, irritation or skin redness, rash, itching, and wheezing.
Nightshade (Solanum Nigrum)
The nightshade plant is a member of the tomato family and can be found all over the world. The Nightshade plant is also known as the Deadly Nightshade, and it’s considered one of the most poisonous plants in the world. It’s harmful because it contains solanine, a chemical that can cause gastrointestinal problems as well as brain damage. Some symptoms may include headache, dizziness, confusion, convulsions.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria Majalis)
This perennial plant is native to the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s found in woodlands, meadows, mountainsides. It can be extremely poisonous if ingested because of its cardiac glycoside content, which acts like digitalis on your heart! If you are experiencing negative health effects from ingesting Lily of the Valley, seek emergency medical attention immediately! Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, slow or irregular heartbeat, and abdominal pain.
Castor Bean (Ricinus Communis)
The castor plant originates from Eastern Africa but now thrives throughout warmer climates around the world. It’s extremely poisonous because of its ricin content which makes up 80% of its weight. If you ingest even a small amount, you could become very sick with severe gastrointestinal effects such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea. Seek emergency medical attention if you think you’ve ingested castor beans!
Hemlock (Conium Maculatum)
The Hemlock is extremely poisonous because it contains coniine alkaloids that are toxic to your nervous system when consumed orally. It can be found all over the world and has been used as a poison for centuries. Even ingesting small amounts can be fatal! If you ingest Hemlock, you may experience respiratory failure, paralysis, and death. Seek emergency medical attention right away if you think you’ve ingested hemlock!
White Cedar Tree (Melia azedarach)
In Asia, this tree is considered a beautiful ornamental plant, but in North America, it’s actually an invasive species that can cause harm to people and pets. If you touch the white cedar tree sap, it contains a chemical called urushiol which causes dermatitis in many individuals! Some symptoms may include redness, itching, swelling, and blisters. Seek medical attention right away if you think this plant has caused damage to your skin.
Golden Dewdrop (Duranta Erecta)
This is a popular weed with beautiful but poisonous leaves and berries. It’s native to South America but has now spread throughout the tropical areas of Asia, Africa, and Australia. The plant contains a chemical called psoralen, which can cause phytophotodermatitis if touched or ingested. Some symptoms may include skin inflammation, blisters on palms of hands/soles of feet, fever, and headache.
Foxglove (Digitalis Purpurea)
The Foxglove grows in temperate zones. The flowers of the foxglove are beautiful, but they’re extremely poisonous! All parts of this plant contain cardiac glycosides, which can be toxic to humans and animals when ingested. Some symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.
As you can see, there are many plants that you should not take lightly because they’re harmful to our health if ingested orally. If you think you’ve been exposed, seek emergency medical attention immediately! It’s also important to always have someone with you when exploring nature so if an accident does occur, they will be able to seek help right away. Stay safe and be aware of your surroundings!