Poisonous Plants

Poisonous plants are plants that contain toxic compounds that can cause harm or death if ingested or if they come into contact with the skin. There are many different types of poisonous plants, and they can be found all over the world.

Hover over the images and follow the links to learn more about each poisonous plant.

Poison Hemlock

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Oleander

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Brugmansia

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Poison Ivy

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Foxglove

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Deadly Nightshade

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White Snakeroot

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Lilly of the Valley

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Wisteria

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Suicide Tree

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Castor Bean

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Tree of Death

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Aconite

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Easter Lily

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Yew


The yew (Taxus spp.) is a poisonous plant that is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. All parts of the yew plant, except the aril (the fleshy covering of the seed), are toxic and can be harmful if ingested. The toxic compound in yew is called taxine, which can cause severe illness or death if ingested in large amounts. Symptoms of yew poisoning include difficulty breathing, stomach pain, vomiting, and tremors.



Poison Hemlock


Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is a highly poisonous plant that is native to Europe and has been introduced to many other parts of the world. It is a tall, slender plant that can grow up to 6 or 7 feet in height and is often found in fields, along roadsides, and in other areas where the soil has been disturbed. All parts of the poison hemlock plant are toxic, but the seeds and roots are the most poisonous. The toxic compound in poison hemlock is coniine, which can cause severe illness or death if ingested. Symptoms of poisoning include abdominal pain, vomiting, difficulty breathing, weakness, and tremors.



Oleander


Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a poisonous plant that is native to the Mediterranean region but is grown in many other parts of the world as an ornamental plant. All parts of the oleander plant, including the leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds, are toxic and can be harmful if ingested. The toxic compounds in oleander are called cardiac glycosides, which can cause severe illness or death if ingested in large amounts. Symptoms of oleander poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, and confusion. If you think you or someone you know may have ingested oleander, seek medical attention immediately. It is important to keep oleander plants out of reach of children and pets, as they may be attracted to the plant's bright flowers.



Brugmansia


Brugmansia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Solanaceae, which also includes plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and tobacco. Brugmansia plants are native to South America and are known for their large, fragrant flowers that hang down from the branches. The flowers are typically trumpet-shaped and can be white, yellow, pink, or orange in color. Brugmansia plants are poisonous, as all parts of the plant contain toxic alkaloids that can cause symptoms such as hallucinations, dizziness, and confusion if ingested. In severe cases, ingestion of brugmansia can lead to coma and death.



Poison Ivy


Poison ivy is a plant that can cause an allergic reaction when touched. The reaction is caused by an oil called urushiol, which is present in the plant's leaves, stem, and roots. The oil can be released when the plant is touched or damaged, and it can also be spread by animals. When the oil comes into contact with skin, it can cause a rash, redness, itching, and blistering. The reaction can be mild or severe, depending on the individual. Some people may only have a few bumps or red patches, while others may develop a more serious reaction that covers a larger area of the skin. If you think you have come into contact with poison ivy, it is important to wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible. This can help to remove the oil and reduce the severity of the reaction. If you are experiencing severe symptoms or if you have a compromised immune system, you should contact a healthcare professional for treatment.



Foxglove


Foxglove (Digitalis) is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and biennials that are native to Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa. They are known for their tall spires of showy, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in shades of pink, purple, white, and yellow. The leaves of foxgloves are long and narrow, and the plants are often used as ornamental plants in gardens. Foxgloves are poisonous if ingested, and they are also toxic to livestock. Some species of foxglove are grown for their medicinal properties and are used in the treatment of heart conditions.



Deadly Nightshade


Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) is a highly poisonous plant that is native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. It is a member of the Solanaceae family, which also includes tomato, potato, and eggplant. The plant has shiny, dark green leaves and produces small, purple, bell-shaped flowers. Its fruit is a shiny black berry that contains several seeds. All parts of the deadly nightshade plant are poisonous and can be harmful if ingested. The plant's toxic alkaloids, atropine and scopolamine, can cause hallucinations, confusion, dilation of the pupils, rapid heartbeat, and death in severe cases.



White Snakeroot


White snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) is a poisonous plant that is native to the eastern United States. It is a perennial herb that can grow up to 4 feet tall and has small, white flowers that resemble those of the daisy. The plant's leaves and stems contain the toxic compound tremetol, which can cause tremors, constipation, and death in humans and animals if ingested. White snakeroot is especially toxic to livestock and can cause a condition called "trembles" in cows and horses. The plant gets its name from the belief that it was used by Native Americans to make a potion that was used to kill rattlesnakes. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.



Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) is poisonous if ingested. It contains several toxic compounds, including convallatoxin and convallarin, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and an irregular heartbeat. In severe cases, ingestion of lily of the valley can lead to difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, and even death. Despite its toxicity, lily of the valley is often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens due to its attractive, fragrant white flowers.



Wisteria


Wisteria is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family that includes ten species of woody vines native to the eastern United States and Asia. These plants are known for their beautiful, fragrant flowers that bloom in shades of purple, pink, and white. Wisteria plants can grow quite large and can be trained to grow up trellises, arbors, and fences. They are popular as ornamental plants in gardens and are often used in landscaping to add vertical interest and shade to outdoor spaces. Some species of wisteria, such as Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), can be quite aggressive and may require regular pruning to keep them in check. All parts of the wisteria plant are toxic if ingested and can cause nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. The seeds and pods of wisteria contain a chemical called amygdalin, which breaks down into hydrogen cyanide when ingested and can be deadly.



Suicide Tree


Cerbera odollam, commonly known as the suicide tree or poison nut, is a poisonous plant that is native to India and other parts of Southeast Asia. It is a member of the Apocynaceae family, which also includes oleander and milkweeds. The plant has large, leathery leaves and produces small, white flowers. Its fruit is a small, green drupe that contains a single seed. The seed, which is also known as the "deadly seed," is highly poisonous and contains a toxic compound called cerberin. Ingestion of just a few seeds can be lethal and can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and an irregular heartbeat. The poison nut is sometimes used in suicides and murders in India and other parts of Southeast Asia.



Castor Bean


The castor bean plant (Ricinus communis) is a tropical plant that is native to eastern Africa. It is a fast-growing plant that can reach heights of up to 15 feet and has large, palmate leaves and clusters of red, pink, or white flowers. The plant's most notable feature is its large, spiky seed capsules, which contain several shiny, bean-like seeds. The seeds of the castor bean plant contain the toxic compound ricin, which can be lethal if ingested. However, the seeds are also the source of castor oil, which is used medicinally and industrially. It is important to handle castor beans with caution, as the seeds can be easily crushed and the toxic oil can be released.



Tree of Death


Hippomane mancinella, commonly known as the manchineel tree, is a poisonous tree that is native to coastal areas of the Caribbean, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico. It is a small to medium-sized tree that has dark green, glossy leaves and produces small, greenish-yellow flowers and green or yellowish fruit. The tree is sometimes called the "beach apple" due to the apple-like appearance of its fruit. However, the fruit is highly toxic and can cause severe reactions if ingested. The manchineel tree exudes a milky sap that contains a number of toxic compounds, including phorbol esters and hippomane. The sap can cause severe skin irritation and blistering if it comes into contact with the skin, and it can cause blindness if it gets into the eyes. Ingestion of the sap or fruit can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty swallowing. It is important to avoid contact with the manchineel tree and to keep children and pets away from it.



Aconite


Aconitum, commonly known as aconite, monkshood, or wolf's bane, is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the buttercup family. These plants are native to Europe, Asia, and North America and are known for their tall spikes of showy, hood-shaped flowers that bloom in shades of blue, purple, and white. Aconite plants are poisonous and contain a number of toxic compounds, including aconitine, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and an irregular heartbeat if ingested. In severe cases, ingestion of aconite can lead to difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, and even death. Aconite plants are sometimes used in traditional medicine, but they must be handled with caution due to their toxicity.



Easter Lily


Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) is a poisonous plant that is native to Japan and is commonly grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and as a cut flower. It is a tall, slender plant that has long, narrow leaves and produces white, trumpet-shaped flowers. Easter lilies are prized for their fragrant blooms and are often used to decorate homes and churches during the Easter season. All parts of the plant are toxic and can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain if ingested. In severe cases, ingestion of Easter lily can lead to an irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and death.





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