Poisonous plants are everywhere. They’re in the woods, the forests and the mountains. In fact some of them may even be in your garden. This makes bugging out look like a dangerous proposition when the SHTF. Check out the guide to help identify dangerous flora and avoid getting sick in the wilderness.
The Ultimate Guide to Poisonous Plants
However, these plants would not cause harm if you did not eat or touch them. As you read our guide, you will realize that it is actually simple and easy to avoid these poisonous plants. Just stick to your regular food and avoid the bitter stuff. Avoid eating seeds and flowers.
Don’t eat anything unfamiliar and make sure you have adequate body covering when you’re out there. Wear thick or insulated clothing as well as tough and durable boots. Never assume that because you saw a deer or goat eat a plant, you can eat it, too.
Identifying poisonous plants may be a daunting task especially in emergency situations, but remember that your goal is to survive.
1. Aconite (Aconitum spp.)
- A guide to poisonous plants would not be complete without the monkshood. Via cedarvalleyarboretum
Garden monkshood is native to western and central Europe, but is grown widely in North America as a garden ornamental. Its showy spires of deep purple flowers are striking in late fall; the hood-like shapes of the flowers give the plant its common name. Although extracts of the plant are used homeopathically in low doses to treat inflammation, these compounds are poisonous — even deadly. Continue reading
2. Agave/century plant (Agave spp.)
- Poisonous plants can be found almost everywhere like the agave which is often used for landscaping. Via austinnativelandscaping
Agave has a toxic sap that immediately causes pain and burning upon contact with skin. Typically the skin will also turn red and may begin to develop blisters soon after exposure to agave. Exposed skin may also be sensitive to sunlight. If ingested, the saponin in the agave plant can have serious consequences including kidney and liver damage. Click here to read the whole article.
3. Almond seeds (Prunus spp.)
- Poisonous plants have parts that have the highest concentration of toxins, and most of them can be found in the seeds. Via universalcats.com
Bitter almonds contain amygdalin and prunasin, which are cyanogenic compounds. Human intestines contain an enzyme that is capable of converting these substances to cyanide. Poisoning from cyanide and death have occurred following bitter almond consumption. The U.S Food and Drug Administration, however, prohibits the sale of unprocessed bitter almonds because of the risk of cyanide toxicity. The type of almonds you find at the grocer are sweet almonds, which are safe to eat. See more at
4. Angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia spp.)
- More often than not, beautiful flora turn out to be poisonous plants. Via thevaliens.com
Large, pendulous, trumpet-shaped brugmansia flowers perfume the air with their fragrance. With a common name as heavenly as “angel’s trumpet,” it’s hard to imagine that brugmansia (Brugmansia spp.) can have such devilish consequences. But the California Poison Control System ranks brugmansia in Class 1 — its most toxic plant category. Poisonous brugmansia sap may cause vision problems, confusion and elevated heart rates. Read more at
5. Apple seeds (Malus spp.)
- We included an apple in this list of poisonous plants because of the toxins found in the seeds. Via theparrotuniversity.com
Apple seeds are very often eaten accidentally but you would need to chew and consume a fairly high number to get sick. There are not enough seeds in one apple to kill, but it is absolutely possible to eat enough to die. Read the whole article here
6. Apricot seeds (Prunus spp.)
- You wouldn’t think of the apricot as one of the poisonous plants but once again, the seeds are toxic. Via wakeup-world
Apricot kernel contains a toxic chemical known as amygdalin. In the body this chemical is converted to cyanide, which is poisonous. There was interest in using apricot kernel to fight cancer because it was thought that amygdalin was taken up first by cancer cells and converted to cyanide. It was hoped that the cyanide would harm only the tumor. But research has shown that this is not true. The amygdalin is actually converted to cyanide in the stomach. The cyanide then goes throughout the body, where it can cause serious harm, including death. Click here for the full post.
7. Autumn crocus/Meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale)
- Some of its common names may be amusing but make no mistake, meadow saffrons are still poisonous plants. Via galleryhip
The active principle is said to be an alkaline substance of a very poisonous nature called Colchinine. It is acrid, sedative, and acts upon all the secreting organs, particularly the bowels and kidneys. It is apt to cause undue depression, and in large doses acts as an irritant poison. Dr. Lindley relates the case of a woman who was poisoned by the sprouts of Colchicum, which had been thrown away in Covent Garden Market and which she mistook for onions. Learn more..
8. Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)
- The azalea is positively one of the most poisonous plants, so poisonous in fact that honey made from them can still be toxic. Via texomamedicalcenter
Consumption of leaves and/or quantities of flowers by livestock or children. Even the continual consumption of honey from rhododendron and azalea flowers can be poisonous. This effect has been known since 400 BCE, when honey was a chief source of sweetness in Europe and Asia. Greek soldiers of that era were poisoned by prolonged use of rhododendron honey.
The human digestive tract is capable of breaking down small doses of andromedotoxins into harmless compounds, so human fatalities from eating these plants are rare. However, victims who consume a lot suffer from nausea, vomiting, abdominal upset, and low blood pressure. People who regularly eat affected honey can suffer chronic symptoms of this sort, as well. See more…
9. Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)
- Its name alone will tell you it’s one of those poisonous plants you should avoid. Via brandeis.edu
American bittersweet is a woody vine often used in fall wreaths and dried flower arrangements. Its orange-yellow berries are three-part capsules with a seed in each part. They grow at the point where the leaves join the stems. Eating American Bittersweet berries can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. To read the full article, click here.
10. Black cherry seeds (Prunus serotina)
- Poisonous plants tend to make the fruit and only the fruit edible to animals and man. Via wildmanstevebrill.com
Poison Delivery Mode: Ingestion
Symptoms: Gasping, weakness, excitement, pupil dilation, spasms, convulsions, coma, respiratory failure
Toxic Principle: Cyanogenic glycoside, amygdalin
Severity: HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN! Read more…
11. Black henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)
- The black henbane makes it to the list of poisonous plants because it has caused coma in some cases. Via invasive.org
All plant parts of black henbane are considered highly toxic because of alkaloids hyoscymine and scopolamine, and can be fatal if eaten. It is poisonous to all livestock and humans, even at low doses. Symptoms of poisoning include: Salivation, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid pulse, convulsions, and coma. It can cause skin irritation if it is touched with bare skin. Black henbane has the bad reputation of a plant that has poisoned and killed many people.
Affective herbicides include: picloram, dicamba, 2,4-D and metsilfuron. The two alkaloids (hyoscyamine and scopolamine) are useful sedative/ anti-spasmodic drugs when used under controlled conditions.
In the Middle Ages, black henbane was widely used in Germany to augment the inebriating qualities of beer. The names of many German towns originate from the word Bilsen–henbane. Later on, the word was transformed to Pilsen to name the famous Pilsen beer. It took many years to prohibit the use of henbane in brewing after numerous cases of poisonings. Read more…
12. Black locust seeds (Robinia pseudoacacia)
- When it comes to poisonous plants, always remember that death is possible. The seeds of the black locust is one example. Via portraitoftheearth.com
The bark, leaves and seeds of black locust all contain the toxalbumins robin, phasin and robitin, which can produce severe gastrointestinal irritation, weakness, blood cell, liver and kidney damage—and in some cases, even death. See more…
13. Black nightshade (Solanum spp.)
- Almost all members of the nightshade family are poisonous plants, including this one. Via rufino-osorio.blogspot.com
The name says it all — both the foliage and the berries of this plant are extremely toxic. Deadly nightshade has a long, colorful history of use as a poison, but what many people don’t realize is that the nightshade family includes common food plants, including potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and chili peppers. In fact, all of these plants contain toxins — usually in their foliage — that can be harmful. In particular, humans and pets should avoid potato and tomato foliage and vines in the garden. Click here for the full post.
14. Cardinal flower/Lobelia (Lobelia spp.)
- There is more to the bright red color than being similar to a cardinal’s robe. Via hummingbirdgardener.com
Lobelia cardinalis, or cardinal flower, is a swamp-loving perennial native to the Americas. It is poisonous to humans, cats and dogs. Severity of symptoms varies among people. Children tend to react more seriously than adults. The culprit, lobeline. This naturally occuring chemical is commonly found in plants. Signs of poisoning include depression, excessive salivation, mental confusion, irregular heart rhythm, vomiting and abdominal pain. Continue reading.
15. Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
- Some poisonous plants look like other harmless varieties. The Carolina jessamine looks a lot like honeysuckle. Via mrjacksfarm.com
This high-climbing vine is very common in parts of the South, frequently found in abandoned fields and climbing high into the canopies of pine forests. It is quite adaptable and tenacious, with no serious disease or insect problems. These qualities, along with its glossy, evergreen leaves and waxy, trumpet-shaped flowers, have made it a mainstay of the suburban landscape in the Southeast. The flowers, leaves, and roots are poisonous and may be lethal to humans and livestock. The species nectar may also be toxic to honeybees if too much is consumed and honey made from Carolina Jessamine nectar may be toxic to humans. Rankins Yellow Jessamine, also known as Swamp Jessamine (G. rankinii), with odorless flowers, occurs in swamps from North Carolina to Florida. Learn more
16. Carolina laurel cherry (Prunus caroliniana)
- This is one of the most poisonous plants because of its hydrocyanic acid content, a type of cyanide. Via msucares.com
With a natural range extending from southern North Carolina west to east Texas, Carolina laurel cherry is a dense shrub or small tree, 15-36 ft. tall, with a pyramidal to oval outline. Leaves are firm, smooth, evergreen, narrowly elliptic, tapered to a pointed tip and equally tapered to the base. Margins are smooth on reproductive trees, with narrow, pointed teeth on saplings and root sprouts. Upper surface is dark green and shiny, the lower surface lighter and duller. The leaves have a taste suggestive of almond flavoring and are poisonous when eaten. Read the whole article here.
17. Castor Bean (Ricinus communis)
- Castor oil may be used in alternative medicine, but the beans make it one of the poisonous plants. Via zwallpix.com
Widely grown as an ornamental, the castor bean is an attractive plant native to Africa. While the processed seeds are the source of castor oil, they naturally contain the poison ricin and are deadly in small amounts. It only takes one or two seeds to kill a child and up to eight to kill an adult. Ricin works by inhibiting the synthesis of proteins within cells and can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death. The poison was used in 1978 to assassinate Georgi Markov, a journalist who spoke out against the Bulgarian government, and has been mailed to several U.S. politicians in failed terrorism attempts. Most fatalities are the result of accidental ingestion by children and pets. To read the full article, click here.
18. Cestrum/Jessamines (Cestrum spp.)
- The cestrum jessamines are some of the poisonous plants that have berries which are toxic whether green or ripe. Via davesgarden.com
Common names: Day-blooming jessamine (jasmine), night-blooming jessamine (jasmine), Chinese inkberry.
Toxins: Solanine (a cholinesterase-inhibiting compound) predominates in unripe berries, whereas tropane alkaloids (which are like atropine) are prevalent in the ripe berry. Saponins, alkaloids, and traces of nicotine are also found in plants. Cestrum diurnum contains 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D glucoside.
Toxic parts: Fruit, leaves, and sap are poisonous.
Signs: Both solanine and tropane may mimic atropine poisoning (mydriasis, tachycardia, xerostorma, dyspnea, ileus, urinary retention, CNS stimulation followed by depression, paralysis, seizures). If solanine predominates, mild to severe gastrointestinal signs may predominate. Normal to increased borborygmi may indicate predominance of solanine, whereas lack of bowel sounds may hint at an atropine-like toxin. Click here to read the whole article.
19. Cherry seeds (Prunus spp.)
- The luscious cherry may surprise you that it made the poisonous plants list, but the seeds are quite toxic. Via coffeebreakconversations
A single cherry yields roughly 0.17 grams of lethal cyanide per gram of seed, so depending on the size of the kernel, ingesting just one or two freshly crushed pits can lead to death. Read more at http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/slideshow/foods-that-can-kill-you/?slide=1
20. Chinaberry (Melia azedarach)
- Apart from being one of the poisonous plants, the chinaberry tree has also become a nuisance to the country’s landscape. Via sarinalandcare
The chinaberry tree has been introduced to America and some other temperate countries. When it was first brought into the country it was considered an ornamental tree, and in some areas, plants and seeds can still be bought. Due to its toxicity, it is often considered a pest species in many American states to which it has spread. It is a highly invasive tree which has a tendency to spread rapidly, and is extremely difficult to uproot once it is established. See more at http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-chinaberry-tree.htm
21. Chinese lantern (Physalis spp.)
- Most poisonous plants are attractive and the Chinese lantern is one of them. Via Texas heirloom tomatoes
We grow these for the colorful, fun pods and the ripened fruits are sometimes used to make jams and jellies, but use extreme caution unless you know what you are doing. The unripe berries can be highly toxic and possibly fatal. Poisonous Parts: Unripe berries, leaves. Symptoms: Headache, stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea, low temperature, dilated pupils, breathing problems and numbness. Click here to read the whole article.
22. Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
- It’s always a good thing to name plants based on what they are, poisonous plants. Via iastate.edu
Most parts of chokecherry are toxic to humans and livestock. Digestion of chokecherry seeds, leaves, twigs and bark by enzymes in the stomach releases cyanide (also called hydrocyanic or prussic acid). Cyanide poisoning can occur with fresh, bruised, wilted or dried foliage. It is possible for a person or animal to die of cyanide poisoning if not treated within minutes of ingestion. Cases of poisoning in livestock have been reported. However, it is not usual for such poisonings to occur at times when other, more palatable forage is available. Cases of poisoning have been reported for children who chewed on twigs, or ate the cherries without discarding the pits. The fleshy portion of the chokecherry fruit is not poisonous and can be safely eaten, although it is extremely tart. See more at
23. Climbing lily (Gloriosa spp.)
- The climbing lily is one of the poisonous plants that contain colchicine. Via theardenttraveler
The gloriosa lily (Gloriosa superba), also known as the climbing lily or glory lily, makes your mouth, throat, tongue and lips go numb if eaten. Ingestion can also result in potentially serious paralysis of the nervous system, depending on the amount eaten. To read the full article, click here.
24. Columbine/Granny’s Bonnet (Aquilegia)
- Poisonous plants like the columbine can be eaten after cooking or drying. Via donnameidinger.wordpress.com
The columbine is a perennial plant found in meadows & woodlands. The flowers of Columbines were consumed by Native Americans as a condiment. The taste is sweet and safe in moderation. However, the roots & seeds are highly toxic and if these parts are ingested it can cause severe gastroenteritis and heart palpitations. Although, Native Americans have used small doses of this plant to treat ulcers, medicinal use is avoided as an incorrect dosage could be fatal. Continue reading.
25. Corn cockle (Agrostemma githago)
- Corncockle is one of the poisonous plants that have pretty flowers. Via davesgarden
Toxic Principle and Effects: Saponin (githagenin) in seeds. Acute course. Profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, dullness, general weakness, tachypnea, hemoglobinuria, death. See more…
26. Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster spp.)
- Cyanogenic glycosides in poisonous plants like the cotoneaster are converted to cyanide during digestion. Via 99roots.com
Cotoneaster is an evergreen shrub that tends to grow upright with long branches rather than as a bush. Its bright orange berries grow in clusters so thick that the branches cannot be seen. Cotoneaster is poisonous in large amounts and may cause trouble breathing, weakness and seizures. Read the whole article here.
27. Crabapple seeds (Malus spp.)
- Crabapples are similar to apples, poisonous plants whose toxins are found in the seeds. Via perverdonk.com
Crabapples are essentially the same species as apple trees. The seeds of both of these trees contain a form of cyanide called cyanogenic glycosides. Cyanide is a toxic, potentially fatal poison. However, the average American eats around 16.9 pounds of fresh apples every year and reports no toxic effects. Despite the presence of cyanide in the seeds, most people don’t eat the core. Even when apple seeds are ingested, they usually pass through the gut without being broken down. You would have to eat lots of crabapple seeds and grind or chew them up for the cyanide to take effect. Read more…
28. Crow’s poison/False garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve)
- Poisonous plants resemble edible plants and in this case crow poison looks like garlic. Via wildflower.org
This plant should not be eaten. Some references list this species as poisonous to humans. The jury is still out about its toxicity to crows. Learn more
29. Daphne (Daphne spp.)
- Like some poisonous plants, the bark, sap and berries of daphne have the most toxins. Via pbase.com
Daphne, also called spurge laurel, lady laurel, paradise plant, or dwarf bay, is a small shrub about 1–1.5 meters high and very popular in North America. All parts of Daphne contain extremely active toxins, but the greatest concentrations occur in the bark, sap and berries. Some researchers suggest that Daphne’s extracts may have potential for treating leukemia; the plant is also known to be co-carcinogenic in the presence of low doses of carcinogenic compounds.
The showy colors of the berries often attract children, so if you have Daphne in your garden, care enough to keep them away from it. Even a single berry chewed but not swallowed can cause intense burning in the throat and mouth. Consumption of a few berries can cause upset stomach, headaches, diarrhea, delirium, and convulsions. If the victim falls into a coma, death can ensue. Read more here.
30. Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna)
- Of all the poisonous plants, the deadly nightshade is one of the most popular. Via offthehookastronomy
According to legend, Macbeth’s soldiers poisoned the invading Danes with wine made from the sweet fruit of deadly nightshade. Indeed, it is the sweetness of the berries that often lures children and unwitting adults to consume this lethal plant. A native of wooded or waste areas in central and southern Eurasia, deadly nightshade has dull green leaves and shiny black berries about the size of cherries. Nightshade contains atropine and scopolamine in its stems, leaves, berries, and roots, and causes paralysis in the involuntary muscles of the body, including the heart. Even physical contact with the leaves may cause skin irritation. Read the full post here.
31. Death camas (Zigadenus spp.)
- Most parts of poisonous plants have toxin in them, like the death camas. Via victoriadailyphoto
Native Americans and early settlers were poisoned when they mistook the bulbs for edible species, such as the camas lily (Camassia). No plants of the genus Zigadenus should ever be eaten. Click here for the full post.
32. Dogbanes (Apocynum spp)
- Dogbanes are poisonous plants found all over the country. Via pixshark
A resinoid and glucoside with some cardioactivity found in leaves and stems of green or dry plants. Increased temperature and pulse, dilated pupils, anorexia, discolored mucous membranes, cold extremities, death. Continue reading
33. Doll’s-eyes/White baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)
- Some poisonous plants give away the fact from their looks alone. Via ncwildflower
It’s a good thing the creepy-looking berries of this plant aren’t enticing, because consuming the fruit of a doll’s eye plant (or white baneberry) could kill you. The berries contain cardiogenic toxins that can have an immediate sedative effect on cardiac muscle tissue. Ingestion of the berries can lead to cardiac arrest and death. Read more here.
34. Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia sp.)
- The dumb cane stands out among poisonous plants because of its tongue-swelling effect. Via plant-identification.org
The distinctive leaf pattern of the very popular Dieffenbachia species is seen in many homes. Painful and immediate swelling of the mouth and throat occurs after chewing on dumb cane. Speech impediment can occur, sometimes lasting for several days.
Again, all the parts of this plant are poisonous. One should avoid eye contact with the juices which can result in intense pain and swelling. It is a very popular indoor pot plant as it is useful for purifying indoor air. Read the whole article here.
35. Elderberry (Sambucus spp.)
- The elderberry is yet another one of those poisonous plants containing toxic alkaloids. Via marlahanan.com
The indigenous elder tree of the western United States, Sambucus mexicana, can grow to 30 feet and produces small (1/4-inch), globular, nearly black berries that can be covered with a white bloom at maturity. The berries are juicy and edible when mature. The cooked berries are commonly eaten in pies and jams, and berry juice can be fermented into wine. The fresh leaves, flowers, bark, young buds, and roots contain a bitter alkaloid and also a glucoside that, under certain conditions, can produce hydrocyanic acid. The amount of acid produced is usually greatest in young leaves. There may be other toxic constituents in this plant. The root is probably the most poisonous and may be responsible for occasional pig deaths; cattle and sheep have died after eating leaves and young shoots. To read the full article, click here.
36. English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
- Some poisonous plants are invasive and the English laurel is an example. Via nelsonnursery.com
Also known as English laurel or common laurel, cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) is an innocuous-looking small tree or large shrub that is commonly used as a hedging, specimen or border plant. Ingesting any part of the poisonous plant, especially the leaves or seeds, can cause potentially fatal respiratory problems. See more…
37. English yew seeds (Taxus baccata)
- Perhaps poisonous plants do not want their seeds to be eaten so there are toxins in them. Via berlinplants.wordpress.com
The English yew is an evergreen tree with needlelike leaves and red arils, or fleshy seed-coverings. It grows to a height of 60 to 70 feet (18.3 to 21.3 meters) and is found throughout Great Britain, but is also cultivated in the southern United States. Every part of the tree is toxic due to taxine alkaloids, except for the aril flesh. Consumption of the leaves, and to a lesser extent the seeds, can lead to increasingly serious symptoms, including dizziness, dry mouth, dilation of the pupils, weakness, irregular heart rhythm and possibly death. Read more at http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/top-5-poisonous-plants5.htm
38. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
- The foxglove is one of the poisonous plants that look beautiful but are actually deadly. Via the poisondiaries.tumblr.com
This plant’s attractive appearance earned it names like Fairy Bells, Virgin’s Glove and Fairy Thimbles – but it’s also known as Dead Men’s Bells and Bloody Fingers, with good reason. Digitalis purpurea, Common Foxglove which is often found growing wild in the woods, is an undeniably beautiful plant containing cardiac glycoside digitoxin. Eat it and you’ll experience nausea, vomiting, convulsions, cardiac arrest and finally, death. Click here to read the whole article.
39. Holly berries (Ilex spp.)
- It may not be as toxic as the other poisonous plants but it has more victims. Via aminus3.com
Holly is an evergreen shrub that can grow to be a tree. The leaves are stiff with sharp points and may be edged with white. The berries are hard and bright red. Eating more than three holly berries can cause severe and prolonged nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as drowsiness. See more here.
40. Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
- The hydrangea is another poisonous plant to be watch out for. Via saratoga.com
Poisonous parts: Leaves and buds
Poisonous component: Hydragin
Notes: Poisoning from eating the flower buds has occurred. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pains, diarrhea, labored breathing, lethargy and coma. Sensitive individuals may develop contact dermatitis from handling the plants. Read more…
41. Japanese pieris (Pieris japonica)
- Never eat the flowers, fruit, and leaves of poisonous plants like the Japanese pieris. Via osu.edu
The Japanese pieris, also known as Japanese Andromeda or lily of the valley shrub, is an evergreen woody shrub that has simple leathery leaves, hairless twigs and clusters of white, drooping flowers. This flower originated from Japan and is also an ornamental favorite for landscaping. The leaves of the Japanese pieris and the nectar from the flowers are the poisonous parts of the plant — which can cause convulsions, nausea, sweating, vomiting and even death when ingested. Read more here.
42. Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
- The Jerusalem cherry belongs to the nightshade family of poisonous plants. Via eggeth.com
The Jerusalem cherry is a plant that belongs to the same family as the deadly nightshade. It has small, round, red and orange fruit. Jerusalem cherry poisoning occurs when someone eats pieces of this plant. The poison is found throughout the Jerusalem cherry plant, but especially in the unripened fruit and leaves. Read the whole article here.
43. Jimson weed (Brugmansia spp.)
- This weed is one of the poisonous plants that can be deadly if you eat its fruit, drink its juice or even the tea from it. Via outdoorselfreliance
With pointy leaves and spiky fruit, jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) definitely looks the part of a poisonous plant. Its toothed foliage emits an unpleasant odor and branches from reddish-purple stalks, which grow to a height of 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters). The plant’s fruit is particularly wicked-looking. The green spheres, measuring about 2 inches (5 centimeters) across, are covered with long, sharp spines. Even the nectar and petals of its beautiful white or lavender trumpet-shaped flowers are dangerous. They, like the rest of the plant, are tainted with the toxins atropine and scopolamine. See more here.
44. Juniper (Juniperus spp.)
- Stay away from poisonous plants like the juniper. Via temperedspirits
Juniper is an evergreen tree often used in holiday decorations. Its blue-purple berries have been used in recipes for flavoring. The safety of juniper berries as a food item is questionable since abdominal cramps and diarrhea have been reported when large amounts were eaten. To read the full article, click here.
45. Lambkill, Dwarf Laurel, Sheep Laurel, or Wicky (Kalmia angustifolia)
- Lambkill is one of the poisonous plants that can induce coma and death. Via fromouratlanticwoods
It contains andromedotoxin, a poison also common to other Kalmia species (including mountain laurel and bog laurel) and other members of the heath family. In northwestern North America, where these plants occur, livestock (especially sheep) that graze on nonfertile soils of abandoned pastures and meadows may ingest sufficient lambkill to become poisoned. Symptoms include excessive salivation and nasal discharge, paralysis, and coma and may ultimately lead to death. Read more…
46. Lantana (Lantana camara)
- Some poisonous plants like the lantana are popular among gardeners. Via jacksonville.com
Lantana has become a garden staple. As a skin irritant, it only causes mild and/or short term irritation, so you might not even have noticed that it bothered you. However if the berries are ingested, it is highly toxic and possibly fatal. You might not be tempted, but watch for kids and pets. Poisonous Parts: Green, unripened berries, leaves (skin irritant) Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, trouble breathing. Continue reading.
47. Larkspur (Delphinium spp.)
- The larkspur is a member of the monkshood family of poisonous plants. Via lovejoyfarms.com
Like its cousin monkshood, larkspur (delphinium) is a highly popular ornamental plant, often planted in gardens for their dramatic spikes of showy blue blossoms. Larkspur is so pretty that children often just can’t resist touching them, but even brief contact with the flowers or leaves can irritate the skin. And, if you ignore the warning sign of this plant’s strong, acrid taste, you could die – it’s packed full of potent alkaloids. Before keeling over from respiratory paralysis, you’ll experience excitability, disorientation, muscle tremors, stiffness, weakness and seizures. Click here for the full post.
48. Loquat seeds (Eriobotrya japonica)
- Poisonous plants have deadly effects like the seeds of the loquat. Via pixgood
Loquat is a shrubby plant which bears clusters of small white flowers and largish yellow fleshy fruit. The plant is often used in gardens as an ornamental plant. The kernel from inside the seeds contains a chemical called cyanogenic glycoside which can be poisonous if eaten in large quantities. The fruit from the plant is actually safe to eat but the seeds should be avoided. See more…
49. Madagascar Periwinkle (Vinca rosea)
- Poisonous plants can deceive through their beauty. Via uwlax.edu
Catharanthus rosea (formerly Vinca rosea), the Madagascar periwinkle, does contain a group of alkaloids including vinchristine and vinblastine both of which are used in chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is, of course, controlled poisoning. Learn more.
50. Manchineel, manzanilla de la muerte (Hippomane mancinella)
- Of all the world’s poisonous plants, the manchineel holds the title for the most dangerous. Via tree-nation.com
The Manchineel tree does not like company. If you brush up against the tree, the white sap it produces is liable to produce a violent allergic reaction on your skin. Standing beneath the tree during a rainstorm will cause any skin that comes in contact with runoff from the tree to blister.
These epidermal effects are caused by the powerful irritant phorbol, just one of the many toxins found in the tree’s milky sap. Ingesting the tree’s fruit, pictured here, is often fatal on account of its physostignmine content, which can lead to complications involving naseau, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Basically, don’t mess with the manchineel; there’s a reason it’s called “the little apple of death.” You won’t like it, and it definitely doesn’t like you. Read more here.
51. Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)
- This is one of the poisonous plants to avoid when you’re in the marshes. Via auntiedogmasgardenspot
Marsh Marigolds are considered edible with caution and careful preparation; they are mildly toxic which contributes to their apparent utility as herbal medicine. After harvesting, the leaves must be soaked in two to three changes of boiling water to remove the poisonous constituents, the result a spinach-like green. The tightly closed buds can be pickled and used on salads much like capers, following the same decantation used for the leaves. However, the buds must be stored for at least a month before consumption; the pickling fluid should not be ingested. The consumption of raw leaves or buds without proper preparation will result in irritation and burning of the mucous membranes of the throat and nasal passages. The poisons, once ingested, can cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, fainting and convulsions. To read the full article, click here.
52. May apple (Podophyllum peltatum)
- Avoid eating the fruit of poisonous plants like those of the May apple. Via pixshark
Poison Part: Unripe fruit, leaves
Poison Delivery Mode: Ingestion
Symptoms: Salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, excitement, headache, fever, coma
Edibility: EDIBLE PARTS: Ripe (yellow and soft) fruit is edible raw, but in limited quantity. CAUTION: The roots and leaves are poisonous. Do NOT eat.
Toxic Principle: Podophyllin
Severity: HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN! Read the whole article here.
53. Moonseed plant (Menispermum canadense)
- Some poisonous plants look like the edible variety so be very careful. Via cornell.edu
Moonseed is a woody vine with cluster of several small fruits, or drupes, which resemble grapes. This stone fruit plant is generally found in eastern North America, and it is extremely toxic for humans, if ingested, though birds can eat it. They have been mistaken by people foraging for wild grapes, but fruits of Canada Moonseed can be fatal, so care needs to be taken.
The key to recognizing moonseed drupes is that they have only one large crescent-shaped seed, while grapes have many seeds. To read the full article, click here.
54. Morning glory seeds (Ipomoea spp.)
- When you learn about these poisonous plants, it’s easy to see that the seeds are dangerous. Via gardeningknowhow.com
Hallucinations are the predominant effect after ingesting morning glory seeds. Ingesting 200-300 seeds produces an effect equivalent to 300 micro g of LSD. Vivid visual and tactile hallucinations, as well as increased awareness of colors have been described. Symptoms include facial flushing, nausea, mydriasis, diarrhea, and hypotension (Spoerke and Smolinske 1990). Ipomoea tricolor has a long history of use as a human hallucinogen in southern Mexico, where the seeds were used in the preparation of a drink (Fuller and McClintock 1986). A single undocumented case of poisoning of a pet cat (after ingestion of seeds) has come to our attention. The cat showed erratic behavior and “looked like a lunatic”. Click here for the full post.
55. Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
- When you see poisonous plants like the mountain laurel, stay back. Via representinggenes.org
Although many people might have been made ill by mountain laurel and made a full recovery, the potency of the poison should not be ignored. The progression from initial ingestion to death can be quite rapid in a person who has health issues. The main toxin is called andromedo toxin. This toxin acts on blood circulation by lowering the blood pressure. This leads to drowsiness. The drowsiness allows the toxin to concentrate until it can attack the central nervous system. Convulsions occur, which can be quite severe, with death being preceded by a sort of creeping paralysis. Continue reading.
56. Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa)
- Only the ripe fruit is edible, the rest are poisonous. Via 2livelong
Officially known as Carissa macrocarpa (kuh-RISS-uh mack-roe-KAR-puh) the Natal Plum is part of the Dogbane family. The botanical name for that family is Apocynaceae which is Greek for “keep it away from the dog” meaning it kills them easily. It does us, too. Nearly all parts of the Natal Plum are poisonous, like the Oleander, except for the red-ripe fruit. See more here.
57. Nectarine seeds (Prunus spp.)
- Like some other poisonous plants, nectarine seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides. Via plantvillage.com
The seed can contain high levels of hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavor. This toxin is readily detected by its bitter taste.
Usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm, any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death. Learn more.
58. Oleander (Nerium oleander)
- Stay away from this plant because its sap alone is deadly. Via abouquetfrommendel
Described by Pliny the Elder in Ancient Rome, oleander is a beautiful plant known for its striking flowers. Though commonly grown as a hedge and ornamental, all parts of the oleander plant are deadly and contain lethal cardiac glycosides known as oleandrin and neriine. If eaten, oleander can cause vomiting, diarrhea, erratic pulse, seizures, coma, and death, and contact with the leaves and sap is known to be a skin irritant to some people. Indeed, the toxins in oleander are so strong that people have become ill after eating honey made by bees that visited the flowers! Fortunately, fatalities from oleander poisoning are rare, as the plant is very bitter and thus quickly deters anyone sampling the vegetation. Click here to read the whole article.
59. Peach seeds (Prunus spp.)
- Yes even the seeds of peaches can be toxic so just enjoy the fruit. Via domesticfits.com
Peach stones contain other components; the most abundant ones are cellulose (about 20-30 %) and minerals/ashes (about 3 %).
However, peach seeds also contain amygdalin, a minor component which could potentially be dangerous if consumed.
Amygdalyn is a compound made of two molecules of a sugar (glucose) linked to a benzene ring to which a cyanide group is attached. In the presence of some enzymes, for instance b-glucosidase, amygdalin can be decomposed into glucose and cyanidric acid (hydrogen cyanide, HCN). This last compound is very toxic, and it can be lethal. Read more here.
60. Plum seeds (Prunus spp.)
- It can never be stressed enough how dangerous it can be when you eat the seeds of poisonous plants. Via bayoubill.com
Plums look simply scrumptious. They are relatively low in fat while being nutritionally high in vitamins C and A. Plums can be eaten raw, used to make jam or to make plum wine. Take heed of this warning, though, as danger lurks in sweet and juicy plums. Plum seeds contain cyanogenetic glycocides, a substance that can change into a killer in the body. The body can detoxify small quantities of cyanide, so lots of plum pits would need to be consumed to die from the poison. We don’t tend to let small children put seeds in their mouth. But the chance of poisoning is a far more ominous reason than choking to keep the seeds away from wee ones. See more…
61. Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum)
- This is yet another notorious member of the hemlock family of poisonous plants. Via kingcounty.gov
Hemlock is a very poisonous plant. In fact, all parts of the plant are toxic. Hemlock is most poisonous during the early stages of growth in the spring, but it is dangerous at all stages of growth. The poisons in hemlock are so deadly that people have died after eating game birds that had eaten hemlock seeds. Hemlock is native to Europe and western Asia and was introduced into North America as an ornamental plant. It is frequently found in the US and southern Canada. Hemlock typically grows near fences, roadsides, ditches, abandoned construction sites, pastures, crops, and fields, where it can be confused with harmless plants. Accidental poisonings have occurred when people mistook the root for parsnip, leaves for parsley, or seeds for anise. Hemlock contains poisons that affect the transmission of nerve impulses to muscle. Death occurs by respiratory failure. Continue reading.
62. Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)
- Poisonous plants of the toxicodendron genus have urushiol. Via consumeraffairs
Poison Ivy is a nuisance because it contains a chemical that can cause the skin of persons sensitive to it to develop a red, itchy rash and even erupt in blisters. Urushiol is the active ingredient in Poison Ivy that causes the rash and irritation. It is present in all parts of the plant, but particularly in the sap. People vary in their sensitivity to urushiol. Some have no problem with it and others experience severe allergic reactions. This can also vary over the life of a person. You might be unaffected as a child and become sensitized with repeated exposures. So even if you are not allergic now, it is a good idea to learn how to recognize Poison Ivy in case your body changes as you age. Read more…
63. Poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum/pubescens)
- Like poison ivy and poison sumac, these poisonous plants release the allergen urushiol. Via pesticide.org
Poison oak (sometimes indicated as “poison-oak” to differentiate it from the oak tree) refers to 2 species of plants native to the United States. Atlantic poison oak (Toxicodendron pubescens) grows primarily in the southeast United States, while Western poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) grows primarily along the Pacific coast. Both plants are closely related and have a similar appearance. These plants are known for the allergic reaction they induce upon contact, caused by the toxin urushiol. See more…
64. Poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix)
- Among the poisonous plants in its family, the poison sumac is the rarest. Via dot.ny.gov
Poison sumac grows as a shrub or small tree and is found from Maine south to Florida, west to Texas, and north to Minnesota. It thrives in wet soil conditions, and is most commonly encountered in swamps, marshes, and along river or pond shorelines. Plants are poisonous at all times of the year and at all stages of growth. All parts of the plant, except the pollen, contain urushiol, a toxin that causes irritation and blistering of the skin. To cause injury, urushiol must contact the skin, either directly by touching the plant, or indirectly by touching things that have touched the plant such as clothing, tools, animals, or firewood.
Although some skin-applied products are marketed that claim to protect against or reduce the severity of dermatitis, the best prevention is to learn to recognize poison sumac and always avoid it. Continue reading.
65. Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)
- Like most poisonous plants, every part of the pokeweed is toxic. Via aihd.ku.edu
Pokeweed can grow up to five feet tall and has thick green-purple stems similar to rhubarb. Pokeweed berries (also known as ink berries) grow in clusters, like grapes, and ripen from white to green to rose and finally purple. Ripe berries stain the hands purple when crushed. Eating over 10 berries may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and severe diarrhea. The leaves and roots of the plant have been used in herbal preparations to induce vomiting. Read more…
66. Potato plant, green parts (Solanum tuberosum)
- Possibly the most beneficial of all poisonous plants, there is only one part of the potato that is safe to eat. Via montana.edu
Poisonous Ingredient: Solanine (very toxic even in small amounts)
Where It’s Found: The poison is found throughout the plant, but especially in green potatoes and new sprouts. Never eat potatoes that are spoiled or green below the skin. Always throw away the sprouts. Potatoes that are not green and have had any sprouts removed are safe to eat. See more…
67. Rattlebox/purple sesbane (Daubentonia punicea)
- One of the poisonous plants to look out for is the rattlebox or purple sesbane. Via carolinanature.com
All parts of the rattlebox plant are poisonous, whether green or dried in hay. The seeds are especially poisonous. The toxic principle is the alkaloid monocrotaline (known to be a hepatoxic carcinogen). There is no antidote to poisoning from this plant. . . so handle with care. Learn more.
68. Red Squill (Drimia maritima)
- There is no doubt about the red squill’s toxicity as it is used to get rid of rodents. Via florafinder.com
Red squill, often referred to as Indian Squill, contains a toxin called Scilliroside. This toxin is harmful to all creatures and deadly to those unable to rid itself of the toxin through vomiting. Read more here.
69. Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius)
- The rosary pea is different from other poisonous plants because it is used in jewelry. Via imgkid
Also called jequirity beans, these piously-named seeds contain abrin, an extremely deadly ribosome-inhibiting protein. Rosary peas are native to tropical areas and are often used in jewelry and prayer rosaries. While the seeds are not poisonous if intact, seeds that are scratched, broken, or chewed can be lethal. It only takes 3 micrograms of abrin to kill an adult, less than the amount of poison in one seed, and it is said that numerous jewelry makers have been made ill or died after accidentally pricking their fingers while working with the seeds. Like ricin, abrin prevents protein synthesis within cells and can cause organ failure within four days. To read the full article, click here.
70. Star of Bethelehem/Snowdrop/Sleepydick (Ornithogalum umbellatum)
- There are poisonous plants that have toxins in every part. Via pamphilips.net
Star of Bethlehem is UNSAFE to use as a medicine. It contains powerful chemicals called cardiac glycosides. These chemicals are similar to the prescription drug digoxin. This product should not be used without close medical supervision due to potentially life-threatening side effects such as irregular heartbeat. Click here to read the whole article.
71. Tassel flower (Amaranthus caudatus)
- Be cautious of poisonous plants that look attractive. Via asergeev.com
The tassel flower may be poisonous if ingested, so it is a good idea to keep pets and small children away from them if possible. Read the whole article here.
72. Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum)
- Compared to other poisonous plants, tobacco does not need any introduction. Via albadia-ye
Tobacco is the most widely grown commercial non-food plant in the world. All parts of the plant, especially its leaves, contain the toxic alkaloids nicotine and anabasine, and can be fatal if eaten. Despite its designation as a cardiac poison, nicotine from tobacco is widely consumed around the world and is both psychoactive and addictive. Tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, making it perhaps the most deadly plant in the world. See more here.
73. Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)
- Raw berries from poisonous plants such as the toyon should never be eaten. Via cnps.org
The pulp of immature fruits contains a toxic cyanogenic glucoside that protects developing fruits from bird predation. As the fruit ripens, the cyanogenic glucosides gradually shift out of the pulp and into the seed, pulp carbohydrate levels increase, and fruits turn from green to bright red. The fruits become more attractive to birds as they ripen, and bird dispersal of the seeds is encouraged. Subsequent seed predation is prevented by the localization of cyanogenic glycosides in the seeds. Click here for the full post.
74. Tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca)
- Just because its name has the word tobacco doesn’t mean you can chew or smoke this plant. Via lucidcentral
Considering how much tobacco is consumed around the world on a daily basis, you might imagine a plant called Tree Tobacco is okay to smoke or eat. Not so much. Nicotiana Glauca causes vomiting, diarrhea, slow pulse, dizziness, collapse, and respiratory failure and is known to frequently kill horses and cattle, especially in Texas where it grows wild. Read more here.
75. Water hemlock (Cicuta spp.)
- According to most sources, water hemlock is the most lethal of all poisonous plants. Via all-creatures.org
Closely related to poison hemlock (the plant that famously killed Socrates), water hemlock has been deemed “the most violently toxic plant in North America.” A large wildflower in the carrot family, water hemlock resembles Queen Anne’s lace and is sometimes confused with edible parsnips or celery. However, water hemlock is infused with deadly cicutoxin, especially in its roots, and will rapidly generate potentially fatal symptoms in anyone unlucky enough to eat it. Painful convulsions, abdominal cramps, nausea, and death are common, and those who survive are often afflicted with amnesia or lasting tremors. Read more…
76. White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)
- Poisonous plants like the white snakeroot contain cyanogenetic chemicals. Via pixshark
An innocuous plant, white snakeroot was responsible for the death of Abraham Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks. White snakeroot is a North American herb with flat-topped clusters of small white flowers and contains a toxic alcohol known as trematol. Unlike those who have died from directly ingesting deadly plants, poor Nancy Hanks was poisoned by simply drinking the milk of a cow who had grazed on the plant. Indeed, both the meat and milk from poisoned livestock can pass the toxin to human consumers.
Symptoms of “milk poisoning” include loss of appetite, nausea, weakness, abdominal discomfort, reddened tongue, abnormal acidity of the blood, and death. Luckily farmers are now aware of this life-threatening hazard and make efforts remove the plant from animal pastures. Read the whole article here.
77. Wintersweet (Acokanthera spectabilis)
- Wintersweet is one of the poisonous plants that you need to avoid. Via galleryhip
The winter sweet also known as the Bushman’s poison has famously been used by the Khoisan of South Africa to poison the tips of their arrows. Though the plant produces pleasantly scented flowers and a tasty plum-like berry, the milky sap can be fatal.
The leaves, however, have medicinal properties, but all in all this is a garden plant that should be avoided. See more here.
78. Yew (Taxus baccata)
- This is one of the deadliest among all poisonous plants. Via liststrivia.com
Yew is an evergreen shrub with soft bright green needles similar to the “Christmas tree.” The berries are soft red capsules with a hard green stone in the center. Eating more than three yew berries can cause vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, difficulty breathing and changes in heart rate. See more…
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