Plants may seem benign enough on the surface, yet they can really contain some of the most deadly toxins ever found.
Throughout history, poisonous plants have killed people, from Socrates’ death from poison hemlock to infants accidentally ingesting deadly nightshade.
Here is a list of the plants you should not cultivate in your garden if you have children, animals, or livestock.
The plant known for killing Socrates, poison hemlock, is linked to water hemlock, which has been called “the most viciously deadly plant in North America.
Water hemlock is a large wildflower in the carrot family that resembles Queen Anne’s lace and is occasionally mistaken for edible celery or parsnips.
However, water hemlock is loaded with lethal cicutoxin, especially in the roots, and anyone unlucky enough to ingest it would quickly experience possibly fatal symptoms.
Amnesia or persistent tremors are frequently experienced by persons who survive painful convulsions, stomach cramps, nausea, and death.
Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)
The troops of Macbeth are said to have poisoned the Danes with wine made from the delectable fruit of the deadly nightshade. In fact, the berries’ deliciousness is what frequently tempts kids and unaware adults to devour this deadly plant.
Deadly nightshade is a plant that is indigenous to woodland or waste areas in central and southern Eurasia. It has dull green leaves and lustrous, black berries the size of cherries.
Nightshade paralyzes the body’s involuntary muscles, including the heart, by containing atropine and scopolamine in its stems, leaves, berries, and roots. Even direct physical touch with the leaves might irritate the skin.
White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)
Nancy Hanks, the mother of Abraham Lincoln, perished at the hands of a harmless herb called white snakeroot. The North American herb known as “white snakeroot” has flat-topped clusters of tiny white blooms and is poisonous because it contains trematol.
Poor Nancy Hanks was poisoned by merely consuming the milk of a cow that had grazed on the plant, unlike those who have passed away by directly swallowing lethal plants.
In fact, poisoned livestock can spread the toxin to humans through their flesh and milk. Loss of appetite, nausea, weakness, abdominal pain, a reddish tongue, abnormal blood acidity, and mortality are all signs of “milk poisoning”.
Fortunately, farmers are taking steps to remove the plant from animal pastures now that they are aware of this potentially fatal risk.
Castor Bean (Ricinus communis)
The castor bean, an attractive plant indigenous to Africa, is widely cultivated as an ornamental. Castor oil is made from the processed seeds, which also happen to naturally contain the poison ricin, which is lethal in small doses.
A youngster can be killed in as little as one or two seeds, and an adult in as many as eight. Ricin can result in severe vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and even death. It does this by preventing the creation of proteins inside of cells.
Georgi Markov, a journalist who spoke out against the Bulgarian government, was killed with the poison in 1978. It has also been used to mail poison to various American politicians in foiled terrorist attacks.
The majority of fatalities are caused by children’s and animals’ unintentional ingestion.
Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius)
The troops of Macbeth are said to have poisoned the Danes with wine made from the delectable fruit of the deadly nightshade. Native to tropical regions, rosary peas are frequently utilized in jewelry and prayer rosaries.
Despite not being poisonous when whole, seeds that have been bitten, cracked, or scratched can be fatal.
It is reported that many jewelry makers have become ill or passed away after unintentionally pricking their fingers while working with the seeds because it only takes 3 micrograms of abrin to kill an adult, which is less poison than is present in a single seed.
Abrin, like ricin, stops cells from making proteins and can lead to organ failure in four days.
Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Oleander is a stunning shrub with spectacular blossoms that was first mentioned by Pliny the Elder in Ancient Rome. Despite being frequently cultivated as a hedge and ornamental, oleander plants are poisonous and contain the lethal cardiac glycosides oleandrin and nerine in all of their components.
Oleander sap is known to irritate some people’s skin, and eating it can result in vomiting, diarrhea, an irregular heartbeat, seizures, coma, and death.
In fact, the oleander’s poisons are so potent that ingesting honey produced by bees who visited the flowers rendered some people sick.
Fortunately, oleander poisoning seldom results in death because the plant is extremely unpleasant and rapidly dissuades people from trying any of the plants.
Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum)
The most frequently used commercial non-food plant in the world is tobacco. Nicotine and anabasine, two poisonous alkaloids present in all parts of the plant but especially the leaves, can be lethal if consumed.
Despite being classified as a heart poison, nicotine from tobacco is both psychotropic and addictive and is widely eaten worldwide.
More than 5 million people die each year from tobacco usage, making it possibly the deadliest plant on earth.