When was the last time you hiked through the forest and came upon a plant that looked good enough to eat? No, you’re not a weirdo– we, too, often spot flowers, berries, or the odd leafy green that gets our stomach rumbling. Of course, we never indulge in the hunger, especially if the plant is known to be deadly.
That being said, pretty, poisonous plants can attract kiddos or animals very easily, which means that we as parents, caregivers, and good citizens need to do our best to educate ourselves on the attributes of their dangers.
Here are 9 plants that are as fatal as they are beautiful…
This beautiful plant may look like the cousin to a chrysanthemum, but its chemistry is actually quite lethal. In fact, every single part of the angel’s trumpet flower is poisonous, including the seeds, roots, and leaves.
The plant, which is known to cause delirium, hallucinations, compromised breathing, and death in individuals who have had contact with it, has such strong poison that it is even known to sicken individuals who have simply touched its leaves.
Unfortunately, dogs and cats seem to be at the highest risk for poisoning, so if you have noticed lethargy, tremors, or seizures in your pet, be sure to take her to a vet stat!
White snakeroot, otherwise known as Ageratina altissimo, is a lethal plant found in the Midwestern and Eastern regions of North America. At first glance, it looks as harmless as baby’s breath, but there lies a whole lot of potential harm in those pretty, white, and wonderfully fragrant flowers.
The plant gained its name from early settlers who would use it to counter the effects of snake bites–with mostly disastrous results. Even scarier, cows were known to consume the plant’s leaves, which means its toxins would sometimes slip into the public’s milk supply. Luckily, these days, dairies follow strict guidelines to ensure that their bovines don’t get anywhere near white snakeroot.
This plant’s flowers might flaunt some of the most vivid shades of violet in the natural world, but that doesn’t mean that all parts of it are beautiful. You see, every single facet of monkshood contains toxins, with the most powerful ones resting in the roots.
The plant is found mostly in Central Europe, but interestingly, it seems that monkshood’s biggest threat is to folks who consume herbs for medicinal purposes. Research shows that the deadly ingredient has popped up in certain Chinese herbal preparations prescribed to combat heart disease.
Similar to the aforementioned monkshood, foxglove is an incredibly beautiful purple plant that carries with it some seriously lethal attributes.
These fuchsia flowers are found scattered across North America, with the highest concentrations being in the United States. What makes foxglove, otherwise known as digitalis, so intriguing is that it serves as an active ingredient in medications formulated for patients experiencing heart failure. This means that it can, essentially, cause cardiac arrest in a person whose body does not need it. Talk about a double-edged sword!
Although this pretty red plant comes with quite the innocuous name, it is definitely one that can comprise your breathing if inhaled, and even kill you if consumed.
Even scarier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put abrin, the poison found in rosary pea, in the same category as the ultra-deadly ricin. Florida residents, in particular, should keep on the lookout for this invasive plant, as it has been found growing wild all around the south part of the state.
And speaking of ricin, castor bean, a hairy red plant that looks like it would fit well in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, is yet another one that contains the poison. Most of the danger lies in the plant’s “beans” or seeds— it is said that if a small child chews this part of the plant, they could die within hours.
Experts say that it is fine to have the castor bean in a garden, but it’s important that the plant not flower or seed. Instead, allow it to grow tall – some can reach up to 15 feet! – and clip off any budding flowers before they have a chance to bloom.
Dieffenbachia, otherwise known as “Dumb Cane” or “mother-in-law plant,” is a poisonous house plant that is frankly much more popular than we think it should be!
While its colorful, gradient green leaves might be eye-catching, the plant contains a poison that can cause immediate numbness, burning, paralysis, and even death in those who consumes it. Dumb Cane is so dangerous, in fact, both child and animal health experts alike agree that it belongs nowhere near a home that houses little ones OR critters. Good to know!
Nope, this isn’t a sweet, cherry-tomato-producing plant; it is actually quite a different animal.
The Jerusalem cherry is a poisonous plant that contains solanocapsine in its leaves and unripened fruit, an ingredient that can lead to vomiting, delirium, paralysis, and death.
Generally, individuals who consume this plant do not start exhibiting any symptoms until 8 hours later, which means that those affected can get the help they need before getting hit with too much pain and suffering!
Because we thought it would be best to save the best (or worst!) for last, we bring you: Cicuta virosa, more commonly known as “water hemlock.”
The plant, which is found widely throughout both North America and Europe, is considered to be one of those most poisonous in existence— just one bite of its leaves or berries can kill a human within 15 minutes. And what makes the plant even more nefarious is the fact that, when not in full bloom, it’s often misidentified as either a parsley or carrot plant. Scary stuff!
So, what’s the moral of our story? DON’T eat any wild plants unless you know for certain that they are harmless. And, of course, educate yourself on all new plants that you bring onto your property or into your home. It’s a simple act that can save lives!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on all things pretty AND poisonous. Have you ever been poisoned by any of these plants? If so, what happened? Do you know of any other deadly plants that should be avoided?