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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Northern Wolfsbane is endemic to Europe and northern Asia. Like all species in the genus, this plant is
Carolina Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
Sea Pea (Lathyrus japonicus)
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)
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)
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)
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!
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