Are you a flower lover? Of course, majority of people are, if not all. But did you know that not all pretty blooms are as innocent as they might appear? Deceptively eye-catching, there are some common plants and flowers that can cause convulsion, give you headaches or simply kill you if you ever try to touch or taste them. So, be careful of what you touch and what you eat. Researches through millennia of trial and error experiments show both animals and human beings seem to have figured out which plants are harmless, which are deadly, and which are somewhere in between. In fact, all plants contain some toxins as protection against predators. Even the apple seeds contain traces of cyanide, did you know that?
But in this list, we are going to look at some of the plants that contain such high doses of toxins that some can kill you in a matter of hours or even minutes. It’s really shocking to recognize some of the plants that you grew up playing around could have killed you if you’d tried even a single bite. Let’s know the top 10 plants that can kill you if you happened to ingest them.
10. Jimson Weed
Jimson Weed plant is a naturalized annual herb that is found across most of southern Canada. It contains toxic tropane alkaloids which are known to cause poisoning in humans and other animals. It can kill you if you happen to ingest its seeds and nectar. More often, children are attracted by its large flowers and become poisoned after sucking the nectar from the base of the flower; all parts of this plant are poisonous though.
9. Rosary Pea
Also known as Crab’s eyes or Jumbie bead, Rosary Peas are the slender perennial climber that twines around trees and shrubs. The seeds of Rosary peas are used as beads. Sometimes, even 3 milligrams of toxin is enough to kill the human. However Rosary Pea is native to Indonesia, it grows in most parts of the world.
8. Angel’s Trumpets
However, we can find Angel’s trumpets all around the world; it’s known to be native to the tropical regions of South America. Angel’s trumpets are the flowering plants and the flowers come in variety of sizes and colors. All parts of the plant possess toxins like atropine and alkaloids scopolamine which differ from plant to plant, and even part to part. If overdosed, Angel’s Trumpet can take your life.
7. Doll’s Eyes
Doll’s Eyes are also known as White Baneberry. Well, Doll’s Eye too is a flowering plant which is native to eastern and northern North America. It is so named because it’s the tiny white berry with a contrasting black dot which looks very similar to an eye. The Doll’s eye is the part where the most of toxins are concentrated. The whole part is known to be toxic though. If ingested in human body, it shows an immediate and sedative effect on cardiac muscles which can cause quick death.
6. White Sanicle
White Sanicle, popularly known as White Snakeroot, is a highly toxic plant. They have white flowers and once bloomed, they blow away small fluffy seeds with the wind. White Sanicle is known to have high amount of tremetol which is known for killing humans indirectly. It is said that Nancy Hanks, the mother of Abraham Lincoln, had died from the same toxin. When the cattle eat this plant, the tremetol is absorbed into their milk and meat. And if you happened to eat the meat or drink the milk of infected livestock, it causes the sickness called milk sickness. Milk sickness has taken the lives of thousands of people in Europe and America.
Monkshood is an outdoor ornamental herb. It is believed that this herb was used by ancient warriors to poison the water of their enemies. Its plant contains poisonous alkaloids which have proved toxic in human body when ingested. Monkshood is nicknamed as ‘wolfsbane’ as it’s been said that farmers once used this plant to exterminate the werewolves. Monkshood is also known as Leopard’s bane, devil’s helmet or woman’s bane. About 20 ml of alkaloid pseudaconitine is enough to kill an adult human.
4. Water Hemlock
All parts of Water Hemlock plant contain the alkaloid coniine which causes stomach pains and progressive paralysis. The excessive amount can even take your life. Water Hemlock is also considered one of the most poisonous plants in the history. It’s believed that the Hemlock is responsible for killing Socrates. People know Water Hemlock by several common names like Poison Parsnip, Devil’s Porridge or Beaver Poison.
Belladonna, which is also known as Devil’s berries, Deadly nightshade or Death cherries, is also one of the most poisonous plants in the world. This contains Tropane alkaloids which cause delirium and hallucinations. 10 to 20 berries are enough to kill an adult human while only one leaf is capable to take our life as much more poisons are concentrated in leaves. Belladonna contains poisonous atropine and scopolamine in its leaves, berries, stems and roots.
Many people consider that Oleander is the most poisonous plant in the world. Several types of poisons are contained in all parts of the beautiful Oleander. Oleandrin and neriine are known for their powerful effect on the heart. Unlike the case for other plants, every bit of the Oleander plant is poisonous. Well, the Oleander plant is so poisonous that a single ingested oleander leaf is enough to take one’s life. Even a smoke from a burning Oleander can kill you.
1. Castor Plants
Maybe you’d never have guessed that Castor Plants can be the most poisonous plant in the world. One Castor seed contains enough ricin to kill an adult within the matter of few minutes. A toxin called ricin is found throughout the Castor plant but is concentrated in the seeds. Castor seeds make Castor oil. Accidently, if you happen to ingest Castor seeds, the primary symptoms would be like a burning sensation in the throat and mouth, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Such symptoms are unstoppable and cause dehydration in the body resulting into death. For your information, The Castor Plant currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most poisonous plant.
Final Conclusion: We should be aware of the fact that there are many-many more toxic plants in this planet earth. Few plants have incredible characteristics that I can’t stay without including them in top 10 lists. But having said that, there can still be more toxic plants available but not yet explored. Anyway, I have pinned solid hope that this list is successful to provide you the (nearly) ultimate information about the top 10 plants that are capable to take your life if you happen to ingest them, even accidently. So, always beware of what you eat, and what you let your kids eat. Better safe than sorry!
Arun is an IT-gradate. But writing is something he has innate passion for. He loves to explore new things, places and ideas.