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Thirteen Deadly Plants to Avoid

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Someone just tweeted an article to me on poisonous plants that I found interesting and useful.

The article below is a great one to begin the education process from the little that I know, I think some of it is sensationalized.  For instance, we know that oleander is toxic but we have learned that it is rarely deadly.  If you were to break off a branch and use it to roast a hot dog that you then give to a child, it could be fatal but for the most part, oleanders can make you sick but not kill you.  While a burning bush will be irritating to your lungs we have also found that oleanders work as a firebreak in fire prone areas.

Angel's Trumpet or more the commonly used Jimsen weed is a hallucinogenic that has killed many people but mostly because of the adage – if some is good, more is better.  In small quantities it will just make you sick.

Apples, I think, are a bit of a reach with the seeds.  Most people don't ingest enough of this cyanide to hurt at all.

The nightshade family has been rightfully vilified when it comes to toxic plants.  There was a time when potatoes and tomatoes weren't eaten because they were thought to be poisonous.  Now we know that the leaves are poisonous enough to make you sick if you consume them in large quantities but also know that some people are hyper sensitive so that even touching their leaves can be irritating.

I have included below the article but if you would like to reference it, you can find it on Dr. Mercola's website at http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/04/13-plants-that-could-kill-you.aspx

Apples: Apple seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides. If you eat enough of the seeds, you could very well die, according to this Mother Nature article.

The real risk is very slight, however, because your body can detoxify small amounts of cyanide, and you'd have to actually chew large amounts of seeds to suffer ill effects. Children and pets are at higher risk than adults.

According to another article on About.com, "symptoms of mild poisoning include headache, dizziness, confusion, anxiety, and vomiting. Larger doses can lead to difficulty breathing, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and kidney failure."

Deadly Nightshade: The nightshade family includes plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and chili peppers. While deadly nightshade is the most dangerous, all of these plants contain toxins, usually in their foliage.

Rosary Pea: Rosary peas are traditionally used as ornamental beads. Many jewelry makers have died after handling rosary peas, which contain abrin, a fatal toxin.

Oleander: Oleander is a common garden plant, but ingesting any part of it can be deadly. Even the smoke from a burning oleander can kill  you.

European Yew: Nearly all parts of this tree are poisonous. The leaves and the seeds contain a poison called taxanes.

Daffodils: Daffodils are deer- and vermin-resistant, and no wonder — they have a poisonous numbing effect.

Doll’s Eye: The fruit of a doll's eye plant contain cardiogenic toxins that can lead to cardiac arrest and death.

Hemlock: All parts of the plant contain the alkaloid coniine, which causes stomach pains, vomiting and progressive paralysis of the central nervous system.

Stinging Tree:This plant is the deadliest and most potent stinging nettle in the world. The nettles contain a potent toxin that has been known to kill humans.

Castor Beans: One castor bean contains enough ricin to kill an adult within a few minutes.

Angel’s Trumpet: All parts of these plants contain dangerous levels of poison. People sometimes die trying to create recreational drugs from the plant.

Monkshood: Monkshood was used by ancient warriors to poison the water of their enemies.

White Snakeroot: White snakeroot contains the toxin tremetol. Abraham Lincoln's mother reportedly died after swallowing snakeroot-contaminated milk.

In conclusion, it is important to know about plants before you invite them into your environment.  If you have animals or small children this information is crucial because they don't always have the filters that keep them safe from ingesting your garden beauty.  At some point over 10% of all ingested poisons came from plants so know what you are planting and take care to protect those you love.

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