Poisonous Plants on the Planet

Many plant species are beneficial to us but some are extremely dangerous too. They can cause us pain and

severe damage – and worst “death”.

Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)


Image Source

The colorful fruits of Jerusalem cherry look edible and yummy but beware, these fruits are poisonous. These

plants can be grown decoratively as a house plant. So if you have this kind of ornamental plant in your garden,

keep an eye to the kids. The plant is native to Peru and they can survive frosts and cold weather. The poison it

contains is called silanocapsine which is similar to other alkaloids found in their genus, such as solanine and

atropine. The toxin cause gastric problems, including vomiting and gastroenteritis. Jerusalem cherries are

poisonous to both –humans and animals.

European Holly (Ilex aquifolium)


Image Source

The berries of European Holly are slightly poisonous to people which can cause gastroenteritis. This plant is

endemic to southern Europe, northwest Africa and southwest Asia.

Black Hellebore (Veratrum nigrum)


Image Source

Black Hellebore is a poisonous plant and a medicinal plant as well. It is native to Asia and Europe. In China, false

hellebore species are collectively called “li lu”.

Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis)


Image Source

Earth Smoke is the other common name of Common Fumitory, the most common species of the genus Fumaria

in Europe. It was traditionally thought to be good for the eyes, and to remove skin blemishes. In modern times

herbalists use it to treat skin diseases, and conjunctivitis; as well as to cleanse the kidneys. However, Howard

(1987) warns that fumitory is poisonous and should only be used under the direction of a medical herbalist.

Columbian Monkshood (Aconitum columbianum)


Image Source

Like other monkshoods, Columbian Monkshood is a poisonous plant. Columbian monkshood or Western

Monkshood is a wildflower native to western North America where it grows in moist areas.

Northern Wolfsbane (Aconitum lycoctonum)


Image Source

Northern Wolfsbane is endemic to Europe and northern Asia. Like all species in the genus, this plant is


Carolina Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense)


Image Source

All parts of the Carolina Horsenettle plant are poisonous. Children and cattle have been poisoned by eating the

green fruit. The mature fruit is reputedly non-poisonous or less poisonous. Carolina Horsenettle is also known as

Bull nettle, Carolina horse nettle, Horse nettle, Apple of Sodom, Radical Weed, Sand Brier and, Tread-softly. This

plant is known for producing painful spines along the stems that penetrate the skin and break off. It is native to

southeastern US that has spread widely throughout North America.

Eastern Black Nightshade (Solanum ptycanthum)


Image Source

All parts of the Eastern Black Nightshade or West Indian Nightshade are poisonous and contain solanine. The

main symptom of poisoning is gastrointestinal irritation. The fruits are not poisonous, which allows birds to eat and

disperse the seeds.

Blue Witch Nightshade (Solanum umbelliferum)


Image Source

Blue Witch Nightshades are found in California and Arizona. Like most other members of genus Solanum Blue

Witch contains toxic alkaloids.

Wallace Nightshade (Solanum wallacei)


Image Source

The foliage and purple-black berries of Wallace Nightshades are poisonous. Wallace’s nightshade is a rare plant

native to canyons and hillsides on Guadalupe Islands. It is also known by the name Catalina nightshade, Northern

island nightshade, or Wild Tomato

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)


Image Source

The root of Mayapple is poisonous. The fruit is edible, in moderate amounts, only when it is ripened in late

summer. The plant contains podophyllotoxin, which is used as a cytostatic and topically in the treatment of genital

warts. It is native to the eastern part of North America. The Mayapple is also called the Devil’s apple, Hogapple,

Indian apple, Umbrella plant (shape of the leaves), Wild lemon (flavor of the fruit), Wild mandrake, and American

mandrake (shape of rhizomes).

Kangaroo Apple (Solanum aviculare)


Image Source

The name of this plant is Poroporo in New Zealand. The common name Kangaroo Apple is from Australia. It is a

soft-wooded shrub, native to New Zealand and the east coast of Australia. Its hermaphroditic (having both male

and female organs) flowers are white, mauve to blue-violet, 25-40 mm wide, and are followed by poisonous

berries 10-15 mm wide, orange-red to scarlet. The leaves and unripe fruits of Poroporo contain the toxic alkaloid

solasidine. It is also cultivated in Russia and Hungary for the solasidine which is extracted and used as a base

material for the production of steroid contraceptives.

American Nightshade (Solanum americanum)



The fruit of American Nightshade is a shiny black berry containing numerous small seeds; when mature they

should be considered poisonous as they may contain high levels of solanine.

Kerosene Plant (Solanum mauritianum)


Image Source

Kerosene Plant is poisonous and handling the plants can cause irritation and nausea. The main toxic compound

is the steroid alkaloid solasodine. The dust from the plant can cause respiratory problems if exposure is

prolonged. Because of its ability to affect human health and because of its aggressive and fast growing character

it is illegal in some areas of New Zealand to sell, propagate, or distribute any part of the plant. Kerosene Plant is a

small tree or shrub native to South America. Its common names include woolly nightshade, earleaf nightshade,

flannel weed, bugweed and tobacco weeds.

American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)


Image Source

The berries of American Elderberry are edible, but other parts of the plant are poisonous, containing toxic calcium

oxalate crystals. American Elderberry is native to a large area of North America east of the Rock Mountains, and

south through eastern Mexico and Central America to Panama.

Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)


Image Source

Henbane, also known as stinking nightshade, originated in Eurasia though it is now globally distributed. Henbane

can be toxic, even fatal, to animals in low doses. Hyoscyamine, scopolamine, and other tropane alkaloids have

been found in the foliage and seeds of the plant. Common effects of henbane ingestion in humans include

hallucinations, dilated pupils, restlessness, and flushed skin. Less common symptoms such as tachycardia,

convulsions, vomiting, hypertension, hyperpyrexia and ataxia have all been noted.

Oak (Quercus)


Image Source

Most species’ foliage and acorns are mildly poisonous, causing digestive upset, heart trouble, and contact

dermatitis. It is rarely fatal. The leaves and acorns of the Oak tree are poisonous to horses in large amounts, due

to the toxin tannic acid, and causes kidney damage and gastroenteritis. Additionally, once horses have a taste for

the leaves and acorns, they may seek them out. Therefore, horse owners are encouraged to fence out Oak trees

from their pasture, especially if forage is scarce. Symptoms of poisoning include lack of appetite, depression,

constipation, diarrhea (which may contain blood), blood in urine, and colic.

Ombu (Phytolacca dioica)


Image Source

The sap of Ombu is poisonous. The Ombu is a massive evergreen herb native to the Pampas of South America.

It is also used in the art of bonsai, as it is easily manipulated to create the desired effect. Since the sap is

poisonous, the ombu is not grazed by cattle and is immune to locusts and other pests. For similar reasons, the

leaves are sometimes used as a laxative or purgant.

Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus)


Image Source

The hyacinth bean grows as a vine, producing purple flowers and striking electric-purple colored seed pods. It

produces edible leaves, flowers, pods, seeds and roots. However, dry pods and seeds are poisonous due to high

concentrations of cyanogenic glucosides, and can only be eaten after prolonged boiling. It is also grown as forage

and as an ornamental plant. In addition, this plant is also cited as a medicinal plant and a poisonous plant.

Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)


Image Source

Sweet Pea is native to the eastern Mediterranean region from Sicily east to Crete. Unlike most peas, the seeds of

the sweet pea are poisonous. The seeds contain a neurotoxin, and should not be eaten. The illness caused by

the ingestion of sweet peas is known as odoratism, or sweet pea lthyrism.

Flatpod Peavine (Lathyrus cicera)


Image Source

Red Pea is the other common name of Flatpod Peavine is a poisonous plant native to Europe, North Africa, and

the Middle East, and it is known from other places as an introduced species. This is one pea species known to

cause lathyrism.

Sea Pea (Lathyrus japonicus)


Image Source

Sea Pea is a legume native to temperate coastal areas of Asia, Europe, North and South America. The pods can

be eaten but like many members of the genus Lathyrus they contain B-oxalyl-L-a, B-diaminopropionic acid, which

can cause paralysis called lathyrism. The leaves of the plant are used in Chinese traditional medicine.

Auhuhu (Tephrosia purpurea)


Image Source

Auhuhu, also called ahuhu, auhola, or hola, is a tropical plant which grows in arid regions of Hawaii. It also grows

in other tropical countries, although it is said to be less vigorous there. The Hawaiians used auhuhu as a fish

poison; the leaves and seeds contain tephrosin, which paralyzes fish. Larger doses are lethal to fish, but

mammals and amphibians are unaffected.

Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)


Image Source

The Japanese Wisteria bears numerous poisonous, brown, velvety, bean-like seed pods 5-10cm long that mature

in summer and persist until winter. It was brought from Japan to the United States in 1860. Since then, it has

become one of the most highly romanticized flowering garden plants. It is also a common subject for bonsai, along

with Chinese wisteria. The plant often lives over fifty years.

Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)


Image Source

All parts of the Chinese Wisteria plant contain a glycoside called wisterin which is toxic and if ingest may

cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, and diarrhea. Wisterias have caused poisoning in children of many

countries, producing mild to severe gastroenteritis. This plant can live for over 100 years.

Hope you enjoyed this. Thank you!

See more deadly plants on these links:

20 Deadliest Plants on the Planet

10 Deadliest Plants on the Planet 2

Dangerous and Deadly Plants on the Planet

About Author

Leave A Reply