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Poisonous Garden Plants To Avoid

Posted on March 13th, 2022

It might surprise plant lovers that some garden plants can be poisonous. However, some of these harmful plants are relatively common, so you won’t think twice about them being hazardous.

Garden poisonous plants can appear to be attractive additions to your garden. And your kids and pets will want to play around them too. However, they’re just as poisonous as they are beautiful. Do you need to know which toxic plants to avoid?

Here’s a list of the top ten most common poisonous plants to keep away from your garden:

  • Bittersweet Nightshade

Bittersweet Nightshade is a crawler plant you’ll find in some gardens. It produces attractive orange-colored berries. In fall, its beauty is completely displayed when the berries turn yellow and open up to reveal a deep orange center.

However, this plant is very poisonous. Unfortunately, its vibrant orange and yellow colors attract furry pets and children who get exposed to toxins. Apart from this, these plants grow invasively and can destroy acres of vegetation.

  • Belladonna

Belladonna is also known as Deadly Nightshade. It doesn’t require much maintenance, so many newbies love it. Just like Bittersweet Nightshade, this plant also produces lovely-looking berries. But, unfortunately, it is also just as poisonous.

This plant grows in many parts of the world, mainly in areas from Western Europe to the Himalayas. Even though all features of this plant are highly poisonous, some people use it to treat hemorrhoids, the common cold and asthma.

The FDA issued warnings back in 2010 regarding its use. The warning came out of a report about teething tablets that contain their extracts. Authorities have outlined severe side effects such as agitation, breathing problems and seizures.

  • Rhododendron

This shrub is a common garden plant, and you may have seen it in many homes. Its attractive flowers bloom in spring in brilliant colors of purple, white, pink and red. Its leaves make pretty ornaments that match many interiors. It’s so popular that it was named the state flower of Washington and West Virginia.

Ingesting any of its parts can induce tears and cause drooling. In some extreme cases, it can cause vomiting and low blood pressure. It’s best to be aware and careful of placing this plant in an environment where there are children or pets. 

  • Lily Of The Valley

Lily of the Valley is a perennial flower endemic to the Northern Hemisphere. Wait for it to bloom in late spring if you want to see its full splendor. Many gardening enthusiasts use this plant to create a lovely groundcover.

Its bell-shaped flowers produce a lovely scent, and it has orange-red berries to match the plant’s vibrant colors. Unfortunately, its extracts contain a lot of toxins that can cause blurred vision, disorientation, drowsiness, rashes and irregular heartbeat. Seek immediate medical help if any parts are accidentally ingested.

  • Foxgloves

This plant is well-known for its bell-shaped flowers in white, purple and pink colors. Homeowners use it as an ornamental plant, and they make a fine addition as blooms you can hang on walls and balconies.

However, it would be best to be careful when handling Foxgloves because it is one of the most toxic plants in the world. Its extracts contain compounds known as glycosides which can be lethal in higher concentrations. It can affect both humans and animals when ingested.

  • Castor Oil Plant

People use castor oil as a laxative, natural moisturizer, wound cleanser and anti-bacterial treatment. It’s been an ancient folk cure for centuries – since 1500 BC. The plant originates from the Mediterranean, Africa and India.

Its oil is beneficial. However, the plant itself is hazardous. It’s one of the more common garden poisonous plants worldwide. According to Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences researchers, this plant’s seeds contain ricin, a toxic protein. It’s one of the most naturally poisonous substances. It can cause diarrhea and vomiting, inducing severe dehydration. In severe cases, it can cause internal bleeding in children.

  • Mistletoe

Mistletoes are associated with the festive season. Aside from being an annual holiday ornament in the house, people don’t realize that it’s a parasitic plant. 

One would need to ingest a significant dose of its extracts to experience effects such as hallucination and a slow heartbeat. Nevertheless, Mistletoe can also harm your pets if they chew on it.

  • Water Hemlock

This plant is also known as spotted parsley. Its small white flowers give a faint smell similar to freshly harvested carrots. They grow in small beautiful clusters that highlight specific areas of your garden.

However, these perennial plants are invasive and can wipe out many plant species. Apart from this, it contains toxins affecting the nervous system. Its extracts can harm humans and animals.

If you ingest a large number of its toxins, it can lead to death within 15 minutes. A small amount can cause convulsions, seizures and asphyxia. The USDA dubbed it the most violently toxic plant in North America.

  • Oleander

This plant is a popular ornamental shrub, which is easy to manage. The good news is it’s one of the garden poisonous plants you can try to keep at home with some caveats, of course. First off, ensure it’s unreachable to young children and pets. It’s better to grow this plant in pots and hang them out of reach of your pets and kids. While its thick green leaves are lovely, that’s also the part that can do the most harm.

The leaves produce sap and nectar, containing a high concentration of toxins. Its toxins first affect the digestive system and cause diarrhea and vomiting. The poison can then affect circulatory tissues.

  • Daffodil

These bulbs graced Van Gogh’s canvas in 1886 and have captivated art lovers since. With 60 original variants, these flowering plants have grown quite a following. There is even a Daffodil Society in Great Britain, established in 1898.

Think twice before planting daffodils if you have pets at home that love to dig in your garden. They can induce tremors, convulsions, diarrhea, vomiting and, in worst cases – cardiac arrhythmia. 

While not life-threatening in all cases, it’s best to ensure that poisonous garden plants are tucked away from children or pets.

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