Dangerous and Harmful Garden Plants

This is not an exclusive list so always take care.
Castor oil plant in August

Hazardous and Dangerous Plants

Not everything in the garden is lovely when it can poison or injure the unsuspecting. The extremely hazardous Poison Ivy and Poison oak related to the Rhus family (Diversiloba, radicans, vernix, succedanea, toxicarium and veniciflua) should be avoided at all cost. Other highly harmful plants are listed below and the effects of eating roots berries or leaves can be serious. Many cause allergies and irritations that also need avoiding.

Tips on Dangerous Plants

  • Don’t let children eat seeds and plants from the garden unless supervised.
  • If you wish to see these types of plant take a trip to the Poison Garden at Alnwick which also includes strychnine opium and cocaine plants under a special Home Office license.

  • Be sensible don’t cook with these plants and take care around the garden.

Highly Harmful plants and flowers

Aconitum – Monkshood

Mandragora – Mandrake

Arum – Cuckoo pint

Nerium Oleander – Oleander

Belladona – Deadly nightshade

Oenanthe Crocata – Dead mans fingers

Datura – Angels Trumpet

Phytolacca – Inkberry, Pokeweed

Colchicum – Autumn Crocus

Ricinus – Castor Oil plant

Convallaria – Lily of the valley

Ruta – Rue

Dieffenbachia – Dumb cane

Scopolina

Digitalis – Foxglove

Solandra – Chalice vine

Euphorbia – Spurge

Solanum Dulcamara – Woody nightshade

Heracleum – Hogweed

Sophars – Pagoda tree

Hyoscyamus Niger – Henbane

Taxus – Yew

Laburnum

Thevetia – Yellow oleander

Lantana – Shrub verbena

Zigadenus – Death camas

On a lower scale of danger are many other plants that you would do well to avoid eating. Lupin seeds, Hellebores and Hyacinth even Swiss Cheese plants can cause problems such as swelling of the throat, vomiting, dermatitis, heart and digestion problems (enough I say lets grow some nice fruit and veg).

Book Cover
Wicked Plants: The A-Z of Plants That Kill, Maim, Intoxicate and Otherwise Offend by Amy Stewart

Photo Credit
Castor oil plant in August by pcgn7 CC BY-NC 2.0 Seeds are the source of the notorious poison ricin, best known for its use in the assassination of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov in a London street.


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  1. Garden Book Club ‘…Plants That Kill, Maim, Intoxicate..’ | Gardening Products - June 13, 2012

    […] Quick Thoughts of the Month The more we learn the less we realise we know: The Yew is poisonous yet it is in the forefront of the fight against cancer. Toadstools are perceived as bad whilst mushrooms have had a much better press. Everything in moderation, eat or drink too much and everything even water can be fatal. Read more on Dangerous and Harmful Garden Plants […]

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