There are many kinds of plants that have risk of high poison, and cause serious illness and sometime could be fatal to humans and animals. We might have it in our garden, in our parks where children play, or out in the woods. These poison substances in plants may cause us injury, illness or even death if ingested accidentally. Below is a list of poison plants that I have compiled.
1) Apple (Malus Domestica)
The apple seeds contains Cyanogenic Glycosides; but in some species, the amount of a single fruit can’t kill a person, but the possibility to ingest enough seeds can provide a fatal dosage of the poison. Some people experienced skin allergy due to falling off pollen of raw apples, and it is called Oral Allergy Syndrome. The pollen is the main irritant poison which causes allergic reactions.
Peach are member of Rosaceae family, same with the hazelnuts and apples. A person who have an allergic reactions to apple’s pollen, may also be allergic to peaches, hazelnuts and other Rosaceae species. Swelling and itching around the mouth or lips, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing, diarrhea and abdominal pain, hives or skin rashes or uticaria are the most common symptoms of allergic reactions to the Rosaceae plant family.
3) Cherry (Prunus Cerasus)
Leaves and seeds of Cherry (Prunus Cerasus), and other species of Prunus spp, contains Cyanogenic glycosides (Cyanide level or group). Other members of these species are: Prunus Persica (peach), Prunus Domestica (plum), Prunus Cerasus (almond), Prunus Armenica (apricot).
Cashew is a member of Anacardiaceae family. The cashew apple have a single seed, though it is considered as nuts, it is described as a seed, with thick covering shell, containing an allergenic phenolic resin, anacardio acid, that causes skin irritation due to its allergenic urushiol oil. Urushiol oil is a toxin found in the poison ivy plants. Roasting cashew seeds should be done properly, and should be done outdoors due to toxic smoke. This toxic smoke is also threatening to lungs especially when inhaled.
5) Passion Fruits (Paasiflora Caerulea)
The passion plant is a member of Passiflora Caerulea, also known as the Blue Passion Flower, or Common Passion flower, a vine found commonly in Argentina and Paraguay. It is called the Mburucuya in Guarami, Uruguay and Brazil. It is also known as Passiflora Edulis (passion fruit), famously grown by gardeners or farmers. The passion flower is used for tea, and believed to lessen stress and anxiety. But the leaves of passion plant contains cyanogenic glycoside (breaks down to cyanide), and could be boiled away. Sap and rotten leaves of Passion plant can cause death or heart attack. The Blue Passion flower is the national flower of Paraguay.
Chocolates contains a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, known as Theobromine Xantheose, found in chocolates at a level which is toxic to cats and dogs. Chocolates are produced from cacao seeds. Chocolates increases the risk for obesity, stroke or hear attack. The risks are due to Polyphenols in chocolates, this type of substance restrain interaction between oxygen and other substances of LDL cholesterol.
Cassava is characterized as sweet or bitter, edible starchy tuberous root crops, depends on the toxic level, cyanogenic glucoside, and cooking it improperly causes a disease called Konzo. Cassava is considered as largest carbohydrate for meals.
Nigeria, is the largest producer of cassava. Konzo, is a paralytic disease caused by cassava consumption of insufficient processed bitter root crop (Cyanide rich), and considered as food for extreme poverty or starvation. Mantakassa, is the disease common in Mozambique. Farmers prefer to grow the bitter kind of cassava to prevent the crops from pests, thieves and animals.
Another poison plant, Solanum Tuberosum, or also known as potato. The green-tinged tubers and foliage are poisonous, and contains glycoalkaloid solamine. The substance is developed during exposure to sunlight. Glycoalkaloid solamine can cause digestive disturbances and other symptoms that targets the nervous system. Jigh dosage of this toxic substance can cause fatality.
Henbane (Hyoscyamus Niger and Tobacco (Nikotina)
Henbane or Hyoscyamus niger and Nicotiana plant or tobacco, as well as the eggplants, potatoes and tomatoes, contains poisons that affect the nervous system, and causes malaise and sometimes confusion. These compounds protects the plant from their “predators”, and poisons concentrated on the leaves, stems, sprouts and even fruits. The Glycoalkaloids causes headaches, cramps, diarrhea and in most severe cases can cause coma and even death to humans and animals.
In this next poison plants list you will see common plants and fruits that we usually eat. The fruit itself are non-toxic, but some of the plant parts are.
Solanum Lycopersicum also known as tomato, the vines and foliage contains group of natural chemical compound which mostly contain basic nitrogen atoms or Alkaloid substance, which can cause poison that affects the digestive system. Tomatoes are considered vegetables for culinary use which is rich in Lycopene, and have beneficial health effects. Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family.
10) Onion and Garlic
Onions and garlic (genus Allium) contain Thiosulphate, which is poisonous to cats, dogs and other farm animals. Thiosulphate when ingested in high dosage could cause fatality to domestic animals. Thiosulfate is an oxyanion of sulfur. Garlic is the Latin name for generic Allium, a mono-cot genus of flowering plant, referring to onion genus. A natural antibiotic is found in garlic and onions, called Allistatin, also used as insect repellent.
Elephant garlic, Allium Ampeloprasum belongs to the onion genus family. It is not a garlic, and belong to the leeks family. The flavor is similar to garlic, although, milder flavor and most people used it in raw salads.
Asparagus are flowering plant present at all season of the year, and belong to genus asparagus family, and related with Allium species (onions and garlic), but was split to Alliaceae and Asparaceae for asparagus. The berries of asparagus are poisonous to human consumptions.
12) Rhubarb (Rheum Rhaponticum)
Rheum Rhaponticum commonly called Rhubarb, the leaf blades contains oxalic acid salts, and could cause kidney disorder, coma, convulsions although rarely fatal. The petioles or small stalks attaching the leaf-blade to the stem). The amount of oxalic acid is much lower on the petioles, so raw stalks are hazardous to human health. Various part of rhubarb plants are used for culinary purposes and medicinal use too, but the leaves are poisonous. Fresh raw stalks are crispy and also compared to celery for its strong tangy taste. Rhubarb stalks are used for making pies and other foods for its tart flavor. It was considered as vegetable but was counted as fruit in 1947 by the New York Court.
There are varieties of edible Lupin plants or Lupinus or Lupines, there is sweet Lupin and bitter Lupin. The bitter lupin contain more poisonous alkaloids lupinine (a bitter tasting alkaloid present in Lupinus spp. of leguminosae plants), and Sparteine ( a class 1a antiarrhythmic agent, a sodium channel blocker).
14) Lima Beans
Lima bean also called Butter bean (Phaseolus lunatus) contains dangerous amount of linamarin, a cyanogenic glucoside. If eaten raw, can cause toxicity and become too risky to human health. But like any other legumes, Lima beans are good source of dietary fiber, and a fat-free source of high quality protein, that helps regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels.
Digestive orders such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis, a common digestive large intestine disease.
Eating uncooked Lima beans can also cause PVD ( Peripheral Vascular Disease) referring to obstruction of large arteries (not the coronary and aortic arch vasculature or brain), PAD (peripheral arterial disease or chronic ischemia (lack of blood supply), microvascular diseases resulting from episode of narrowing arteries leading to Raynaud’s Phenomenon, or widening vascular spasms known as erythromelalgia.
Nutmeg or Myristica fragrans, contains myristicin (a natural insecticide and acaricide with neurotoxic affect on Neuroblasma cells). It has chemical substance that cross the blood-brain barrier and act as primarily upon the nervous system and can affect brain function, also called psychoactive. The poison dose are much higher than used in cooking. There are two spices derived from nutmeg fruit and dried lacy reddish covering or arillus or aril of the seed known as mace.
16) Indian Pea
Lathyrus Sativus, commonly known as Indian rush pea, grown in Asia and East Africa, an crop used in times of extreme starvation, containing Oxalyldiaminopropionic acid (ODAP), a neurotoxin found in this poison plant can cause paralysis and wasting if eaten over a long period.
17) Kidney Beans or Common Beans
Kidney bean or common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), contains Lectin Phytohaemagglutini, which causes stomach upset. The poison can be removed by careful and complete cooking until tender.
18) Agave Plant
Species of Agave plants, can cause acute contact dermatitis and skin itching and blistering, that sometimes lasts several weeks, or even years of recuperation period. Calcium oxalate raphides causes skin irritation and contact dermatitis, resulting from exposure to allergens. Phototoxic dermatitis happen if allergen or irritant is activated by sunlight.
19) Castor Plant (Castor Oil)
Ricinus Communis or Castor oil plant. The ricin is the phytotoxin of Castor plants, and are extremely toxic water-soluble protein, ricinine, alkaloid and irritant oil, concentrated inside the Castor seeds. This poison plant causes burning in the mouth and throat. It can also cause convulsions and could be deadly. Castor oil is produced from Castor seeds.
And onto the next 5 poison plants:
20) Lilium Martagon or Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Veratum Californicum or corn lily causes birth defects in sheep. Cron Lili or Verathrum Californicum, a poisonous plant in the mountainous meadows in Southwestern North America and the Rocky Mountains. The poisonous substance called Jervine, cyclopamine and tetragons, causes birth defect in sheep , cows and horses. Veratum Californicum can also cause Holoprosencephaly and Cyclopia, that graze on these poisonous plants.
Lilies and some species of Lily family contains unknown water-soluble poison found in all parts of the lily plant, and are found extremely poisonous. Lilium Martagon, or Liliaceae or Lily family of monocotyledons in Lilies order, and plants for decorative purposes or landscaping or ornamental plants grown for their attractive flowers. Some species of the Lily family are toxic if accidentally eaten and can cause serious complications such as renal failure in humans and pets, and commonly most poisonous to cat pets or wild cats.
21) Belladona or Devil’s Berries
Belladona, Devil’s berries, death cherry, or deadly nightshades, is a plant with soft or succulent green stems that wither to the ground during winter, but lives in so many years, so they are called perennial plants in the Solanaceae family. Belladona berries and the foliage are poisonous and contains Tropane Alkaloids. The toxic substances also include Scopolamine and Hyoscyamine, which causes unusual hallucinations and delirium. But the berries are used as medicinal anticholinergics (substances that blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and peripheral nervous system. Atropine drugs, is obtained from belladona plant.)
Cerbera Odollam or more famous by its name “Suicide tree,” the nuts contains a poisonous substance known as cerberin, which stop the heartbeat in few minutes after ingestion. It was named suicide tree during the ancient tribal period where they used the seeds to punish their tribes when they committed mistake. There are feasibility studies of converting the seeds into biodiesel.
Cocklebur (Xanthium spp.)
All parts and seeds are poisonous to live stocks.
Xanthium Spinosum is a flowering plant or weed in aster family, and famous for its noxious or physically harmful to human and live stocks. 700 cattle died of these poisonous weeds.
Daphne plants are known for their scented flowers. These deadly poisonous berries, causes burning sensation in the mouth, digestive tract. Ingesting these berries could result to coma or death.
Doll’s Eye Berries
Doll’s eye berries are extremely poisonous as well as some other parts of the plants.
Calabar or Ordeal Beans
Physostigma Venenosum otherwise called Calabar or Ordeal beans, containing Alkaloid Physostigmine. It was called “Ordeal beans”, due to being used in “Trials by Ordeal”, in some cultures or tribes like the Efik Uburutu people of Nigeria. They use the Calabar beans or “esere” in Efik language, for trials and detect the guilt of the defendant. Apparently, this trial is simple yet weird. The person found not guilty will vomit and the person who dies from the trial is considered guilty.
Abrus Precatorius or Crab’s Eye Seed
Abrus precatorius, or much known as Jecquirity, crab’s eye, rosary pea, John Crow bead, Indian licorice, Akar Saga, Giddee Giddee or Jumbie bead, commonly found in Trinidad and Tobago. This vines usually twines around trees, shrubs and hedges. In Hindi it is called Ratti, and Gunja in Sanskrit. The seeds are famous and are used as beads and percussion instruments, but are poisonous because of the Abrin substance. Just keep it out of children.
22) Brugmansia or Angel’s Trumphet
Brugmansia or famously called Angel’s Trumphet, are known fatal to human and animals. Contact of the eye can cause pupil dilation (mydriasis) or unequal pupil size (anisocoria).
The evergreen bush of Nerium Oleander or small tree came from the dogbane family Apocynaceae. Nerium Oleander’s parts are all poisonous. Oleander plants contains toxic substances in the leaves and woody stems which are known as nerioside, oleandroside, saponine and cardiac glycosides. These poisonous substances causes chronic digestive discomfort, heart illness and contact dermatitis. The smoke of burning oleander can cause negative reactions in the lungs and sometimes could cause death.
23) Aconitum (Monkshood plant)
Monkshood or Aconitum, aconite, or wolfsbane, belongs to the Ranunculaceae (buttercup family) flowering plant. Some various species of Acotinum are used in arrows to hunt animals or even their enemies by ancient tribal warriors. Like the Ainu people in Japan, they use the poison substance of the monkshood for hunting bears. The poison concentrates on the roots and unripe seeds, but all parts of the monkshood plants are dangerous and poisonous. It is a “quick-acting” poison most often used in Asia for hunting or killing their preys. Burning, tingling, numbness of the mouth and intestines, vomiting and anxiety and fatality by asphyxiation are the symptoms felt by victims of monkshood poison.
Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica)
Stinging Nettle are have painful tingling sensation and swelling reaction after contact with the stinging nettle, just like blister bush. The pain and blisters could last longer if left unattended or untreated.
Sabi Star, Kudu, Desert Rose or Adenum Obesum, contains a high poison substance found in sap, used by hunters to coat their arrow tips in Meridian High and Hadza, Tanzania.
24) Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy (Toxecodendron Radicans) Posion-Oaks (Toxecondendron Diversilobum), and Poison Sumac (Toxecodendron Vernix), contains a highly urushiol substance (actually it is not poison but an allergen substances found in all parts of the plants). Blisters, rashes and infection from itching are the most common reactions that spreads even in your clothes. This allergen and the toxin don’t affect much on other people. The smoke of burning poison ivy, can be risky and can cause reaction in the lungs and could be dangerous to health.
Sumac is a member of genus Rhus, commonly produced in Africa and North America. Sumac bobs (reddish fruit of sumac bush), when dried and ground ate used as important spice. Some variety of sumac leaves, are used for tanning vegetables or leathers. One famous leather tanning is the Morocco leather. Sumac roots are highly poisonous.
Blister bush plants are famous for its painful blistering reaction after contact with the plant, and it is not “edible” as its herb family carrots, fennel and dill used for spices commonly used in Asia. Touching blister bush causes severe pain and swelling of the infected area of the skin.
Fennel bush (Foeniculum Vulgare), have similarity with blister bush, and sometimes there are confusions.
Oak Tree (Quercus spp.)
Most species of the oak tree (Quercus spp) from flowers, leaves and acorns have mild poison activities, but can cause heart trouble, digestive upset, contact dermatitis, but fatality is very rare. Oaks are produced in many parts of the world and used as raw materials and commodities in some regions.
25 ) Caladium Plants
Caladium plant, or much known as Elephant Ear, Heart of Jesus and Angel Wings, contain poison in all parts of the plants. Contact to this poison plant can cause extreme irritation, pain and swelling.
Llexaquifolium or Holly plant is a low level taxonomic of various species of Aquifoliaceae family. Holly berries are said to have poisonous substances, but are sometimes stated in exaggeration and the fatalities are still unknown. Holly berries are very important to some bird species and some wild animals, as their food supplement. During fall and early winter, the holly berries are hard and have unpleasant taste. But in winter, the berries got frozen, and when soften it has a milder taste. During winter storm, birds make their refuge in the holly bushes. The birds uses the holly plant as their shelter and protection from their predators.
Taxus Baccata or English Yew or Irish Yew
The poison plant called Taxus Baccata, or now it is commonly called English Yew or Irish Yew, native to Central and southern Europe, Africa, Iran and Asia. The leaves contains high level of poison and all parts of yew, except the red-flesh covering the seeds. However, the seeds are poisonous when chewed.
Datura contains Alkaloid Scopolamine and atropine, and was used as hallucinogenic drugs by native Americans and other countries as well. Incorrect dosage can cause fatality.