Quick guide to poisonous plants

Having a garden full of plants may make your backyard look pretty. Just remember every rose has its thorns. Here are a few garden plants that are very poisonous.

Oleander Plant

This plant is extremely poisonous. The toxin is present both in the leaves and branches. It affects the heart, causes severe stomach pain and can be fatal. Oleander leaves have been used to make insecticides, rat poison and fish poison. It is toxic to all mammals and there have been cases were animals (specifically sheep) have died after eating only two or three leaves.

Elderberry plant

The toxins in the plant are found in its seeds, bark, leaves, flowers and in unripened fruit. The toxin found in the plant is cyanide-producing glycoside. Symptoms of poisoning include nausea and an upset stomach. Learn more about the uses of the elderberry plant.

The Daffodil

The toxin is found throughout the whole plant, but is highly concentrated within the bulb of the plant. Symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. The risk of death for humans are rare, however, during the Second World War starving livestock were given daffodil bulbs and were fatally poisoned.

The Bleeding Heart flower

The most poisonous parts of this plant are the roots and the foliage. In large amounts it can be poisonous and has proven to be fatal among cattle. Gardeners with sensitive skin are advised to wear gloves when transplanting the Bleeding Heart flower. Any contact with the plant will cause a skin irritations.

The Foxglove

The poison in this plant is contained in the leaves. Ingesting large amounts could cause severe irregular heartbeats and pulserate. it could be fatal. Vincent van Gogh was given digitalis, a variation of foxglove, to help relieve him for the symptoms of epilepsy. Unfortunately the digitalis never helped.

The Iris

The underground stem is the toxic part of the plant. It can cause severe digestive upset. It is not fatal.

Rhubarb plant

The leaves are highly poisonous. Depending on how much of the rhubarb leaves are ingested, it can cause convulsions followed by coma and possibly death. Rhubarb leaves are usually carefully removed and properly disposed of. Consuming large amounts of rhubarb could also cause the skin to become photosensitive, which could lead to ulcerations, scarring and systemic infections.

The Elephant ear

The whole plant is poisonous. If swallowed, intense burning of the mouth, tongue and throat will occur. If the tongue begins to swell, the air passage could become blocked, causing death.

Lily of the valley

Both the leaves and the flowers are poisonous. Symptoms include irregular heart beat and pulse, confusion and an upset stomach.

Rosary pea

The seeds of the Rosary pea plant are extremely poisonous. A single seed is enough to kill both children and adults.

(Kyle Boshoff, Health24, October 2011)


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