Tuesday 15 May 2012


Poisonous plants are potentially hazardous to all living organisms, which includes not only humans but also pets, livestock and other animals. 

Atropa Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade)
Lots of plants are poisonous and can be too dangerous to eat. Daffodil bulbs, holly berries, irises, poinsettias and even apple seeds are dangerous to people. 

Plants have developed these special defences over thousands of years. Unlike people and animals that can walk and crawl around, plants are pretty much stuck in the same place for their entire lives. Because they can’t really move too much, some plants have figured out some useful ways to protect themselves from animals that might want to eat them. Some plants like rose bushes grow sharp thorns, while others have made themselves poisonous!

Almost any plant can be poisonous. The humble Marigold, Calendula officinalis, is said to act as an insect repellent so eating huge amounts of it might be expected to be harmful. Indeed, though used extensively both as an herbal medicine and as a tasty addition to a salad, its consumption when pregnant is not recommended.

Senecio jacobaea  (Ragwort)
Human beings are not the only ones who can be affected by poisonous plants. Animals are also at risk for being poisoned by certain plants and flowers. Animals that are particularly vulnerable are domestic pets and livestock like cows, pigs and horses. It is advised that farmers and others who own land with livestock grazing on it evaluate their property to discover if there are any poisonous plants and flowers on it.

Poisonous plants can be found everywhere all over the world. People most often come into contact with and interact with poisonous plant when out in nature, either hiking or just taking a walk on a weekend afternoon. Children especially are vulnerable to coming into contact with poisonous plants because of how inquisitive they are by nature and how curious they are to touch almost everything.

While most flowers and plants may look harmless, there are a variety of poisonous plants that can be toxic, or even deadly, to humans and animals. Accidental plant poisoning is very unusual and only very rarely do people suffer serious harm. Death from accidental ingestion of a poisonous plant, in its natural state, is exceptionally unusual. It is in the best interest of people to be able to identify at least some of them to avoid coming into contact with them.

Amanita muscaria (Fly agaric)
List of notable poisonous plants
For related articles click onto:
Bella donna
How to propagate using division
Poisonous plants

1 comment:

  1. You mention that the chaste tree is poisonous to pets. I have been unable to find any toxicity information on this plant’s effect on dogs. Would you please share your source?