As you know, we spend a great deal of time talking about our
friends: poison oak, poison ivy, & poison sumac (We have
been in the oak-n-ivy business for over 50 years, folks!).
Just kidding about them being our "friends" though,
really. Anyway, did you know that in addition to poison oak, ivy,
& sumac, that there are an abundance of other poisonous plants
that could be lurking in the great outdoor spaces you frequently
venture to? Until stumbling upon an article on lethal plants
recently, I was completely oblivious! I mean, I knew about a few
plants my parents had warned me about as a kid, the words:
"Don't eat the berries off of a plant you don't recognize,
Caileen" have stuck with me over the years! How many of these
10 lethal plants have you heard of?
- Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna) - poisonous
berries are not to be ingested, as it can cause seizures, blurred
vision, loss of balance, headache, or even, death.
- Water Hemlock (Cicuta) - don't mistake this plant for
parsnips, it can also be fatal if ingested.
- Wolf's bane (Aconitum) - this beautiful blue-flowering
plant contains aconitine (a.k.a The Queen of Poisons), and it can
cause a person's heart to stop.
- English Yew (Taxus baccata) - contains toxic taxine
alkaloids that can cause death if ingested.
- White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) - this plant
caused many to be sick, and several to die in the 1800's after
drinking the milk of cows that had ingested this toxic plant.
- Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia) - one bite can cause your
mouth to swell, and numbness to occur!
- Castor Seeds (Ricinus communis) - although surrounded
by fun, funky red balls, the ricin content in one seed can be
fatal. According to the 2007 edition of the Guinness Book of World
Records, castor oil plants are considered the most poisonous plants
in the world.
- Angel's Trumpets (Brugmansia ) - These beautiful
hanging flowers contain scopolamine. It has been rumored that
thieves in Columbia make powder from the flowers, and blow it into
victims' faces to put them into a trance while they make off with
- Oleander (Nerium oleander) - ingestion can affect the
gastrointestinal tract, the heart, and the central nervous
- Rosary Peas (Abrus precatorius) - this deadly plant
has small, red beads, containing adrin, a substance even more
lethal than ricin.
Whoa. If these lethal offerings aren't enough to send chills up
your spine, I don't know what will! The morale of the story: if you
are not familiar with a plant, DO NOT EAT IT. Just
don't do it. Pack your own snacks and of course, carry your Tecnu just in case you
run into the evil oak or ivy; now those plants, we can help you
Adventure on, my friends!