Many garden and indoor plants are poisonous or harmful. Get to know them before it is too late! We list some of the most toxic garden plants.
There are a number of poisonous plants in the garden. We list the worst culprits of poisonous and harmful plants in the garden. Many poisonous and otherwise harmful plants, are surprisingly common.
We have poisonous plants in our own private gardens, on sale at garden centres, on show in gardens open to the public; including many public parks that often are totally un-supervised.
Children are obviously more at risk from ingesting parts of plants, seeds or even roots that are harmful. This is not to say that adults are let off the hook!
It is not any paranoia to bring these plant to your attention. How you view them is a matter of personal choice.
If you drink too much water, you will die: Fortunately, we are never likely to drink too much water. However, if you eat just one small 'Rosary bean' - sometimes imported in cheap jewellery, as necklaces etc - you will almost certainly die!
Just take a look at the plants in the images above, and the ones below, and see if you know which of these are either poisonous or harmful in any other ways.
Lily of the Valley
Shaped Box (Buxus)
Digitalis - the foxglove - contains a heart stimulant chemical 'digitalin'. It is one of the most poisonous plants to be found in gardens. Agatha Christie 'bumped off' someone by mixing a few foxglove leaves into a green salad - just in one of her books you understand. I recently found a Digitalis in the culinary herb section of a garden centre!
Oleander - has similar characteristics to Digitalis. The foliage is poisonous, causes very severe stomach and heart problems, and has been known to cause death.
Taxus bacata - the common Yew. I recently sat in an open air cafe, where it was possible to not only stroke the foliage of the lethal Yew, but a child could easily have picked the deadly berries.
The common Cherry Laurel (below) Our 'garden doctor service' was recently asked if the 'cherries' on her evergreen cherry laurel were ok to eat. Good thing she asked first - they are quite poisonous. (A problem here, is that the edible cherry, and the laurels all share the same family name. They are all Prunus!) A bigger problem is the nickname - Cherry Laurel.
Whilst we are talking of Laurels, it is interesting to note that there are other dangers with some Laurels. For instance, the Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica) has cyanide compounds in its leaf structure. On no account should this foliage be burnt.
Click Lists for other poisonous plants or otherwise harmful plants
Much of the accidental poisoning of children in the home is as a result of eating or otherwise being affected by contact with a plant grown indoors. Remember, that kids - especially once crawling - are apt to put things in their mouths.
Check the mouth and airways to seek and remove any suspect plant material. Do this BEFORE phoning the emergency services. This is often overlooked if the affected person is unconscious. Retain whatever you have 'collected' for inspection by medical staff.
Then Contact emergency services. If unable to contact medical help immediately, - and the poisoned person is conscious - give drink of water or milk to try to 'dilute' the effects of the poison. Do NOT try to induce vomiting unless instructed by medical source.
Try to ascertain the source material that you think is responsible for the poisoning. Collect a sample of foliage and any berries/flowers or seeds, to help the medical centre positively identify the plant source.
By David Hughes - firstname.lastname@example.org