What Are the Poisonous Plants Around Us?
Healthy Living (Wellness & Prevention) Data Verified

The Poisonous Plants Around Us

Published on Mar 02, 2023   -  5 min read


Most cultivated gardens contain poisonous plants. Please read below to learn more about the toxic plants around us.


Even common plants that emerge from decorative bulbs have the potential to be poisonous if consumed. Poisonous plants include giant hogweed, poison oak, and daffodils.

Some plant saps, stems, and leaves might make one break out in a skin rash. If consumed, numerous plant parts can cause severe digestive discomfort. In addition, some plants may cause heart or nervous system disorders if consumed.

What Are the Example of Poisonous Plants and Their Identifiable Features?

The following are examples of poisonous plants:

Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac:

The stems, roots, vines, flowers, and leaves of poison ivy, oak, and sumac contain an ingredient called urushiol. The body may experience a rash after being exposed to urushiol. The rash's intensity may vary depending on how long a person has been exposed to it. According to the reports, the plants can be found in the following locations:

  • Poison Ivy: People generally find it growing up fences, walls, or trees in backyards or wooded areas. Except for Hawaii and Alaska, the plant can be found in all 50 states.

  • Poison Oak: It thrives in yards or wooded areas and spreads when birds eat the berries. Even if there is a southeastern variation, the poisonous plant is primarily found in the western United States.

  • Poison Sumac: Primarily grows in eastern states in wet or swampy environments.

Giant Hogweed:

The hollow stems of giant hogweed contain toxic sap. When exposed to sunlight, this sap can induce skin blisters. If the liquid gets into the eyes, it can cause temporary or permanent blindness. Usually found in North America, giant hogweed loves damp, chilly habitats, such as:

How to Identify Giant Hogweed?

Giant hogweed can reach heights of 12 feet to 15 feet and widths of 3 feet. At the stem's summit, there are white, flat-topped clusters of blooms. The stalks have a ring of white hairs at the base and are thick, hairy, and green with purple spots.


Lycorine, a poisonous substance, is found in daffodils. In the bulb, lycorine is mainly concentrated. When eaten, any daffodil part, including the bulb, will cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In addition, the mouth may become irritated after eating the bulb. The symptoms go away in three hours and are not life-threatening.

How to Identify Daffodils?

In daffodils, there are tall stems with a yellowish-green blossom and long green leaves. Daffodils come in different varieties, but most have six petals encircling a trumpet-shaped structure.

Poison Hemlock:

Poison hemlock belongs to the same family as carrots. The plant is poisonous in every aspect. It grows in most parts of North America. Although infestations of poison hemlock can appear along roadsides, meadows, marshes, and low-lying regions, the plant likes to grow in shaded areas with moist soil. If consumed, the plant can harm the kidneys, slow down heart rate, impact the nervous system, and damage muscles. Anyone who drinks poison hemlock should get help right away.

How to Identify Poison Hemlock?

Since it resembles other edible plants, it might be challenging to distinguish the plant. However, poison hemlock has a distinctive appearance with lacy, fern-like leaves, green stems with purple streaks, and clusters of tiny white blooms that resemble umbrellas. The fruit has wavy ribbing on its surface and is shaped like an egg.

Castor Bean:

Castor is the plant that produces castor beans, which produce castor oil. Ricine, found in castor bean seeds, is released when the bean is chewed. The poison ricin stops the body's cells from making proteins, which can be lethal. The plant grows near roadside ditches, barnyards, stream beds, or garbage sites.

How to Identify Castor Bean?

According to the sources, castor beans can reach a height of 15 feet. The vast, star-shaped leaves are lustrous with golden or crimson undertones and feature 5 to 11 serrated lobes. At the apex of the stem, there are clusters of crimson, fluffy, spherical flowers.


The manchineel tree may thrive in Florida and is found along the shores of tropical regions. The fruit is the only non-toxic component of the tree. However, the tree sap can cause irritating contact dermatitis, resulting in blisters, swelling, itching, and burning.

How to Identify Manchineel?

A red cross may be present near manchineel trees to indicate the area is dangerous. The wood of the manchineel is variegated and yellow-brown. The leaves are glossy and green and have a smoothed edge. Yellowing-green flowers on spikes are in bloom. The fruit has the appearance of a tiny red or green apple.


Oleander plants are poisonous in all of their components. Oleandrin, a plant extract, could be fatal if taken in excess and may disrupt the heart's work. Although it is a Mediterranean plant in its core, oleander can grow in various soils. The plants may also be found on the sides of the roads and in gardens. Oleander is invasive in Lake Mead National Park in Nevada and Death Valley National Park in California. It is also frequently found in Hawaii.

How to Identify Oleander?

Round oleander shrubs have thick, dark green leaves. The colorful, fragrant blossoms have vibrant pink, crimson, orange, yellow, or white hues.

Jimson Weed:

In the United States., jimson weed grows along roadsides and in pastures in areas with warmer weather. Jimson's weed usage can result in the following:

  • Hallucinations.

  • Unusual or violent behavior.

  • Nausea or confusion.

  • Convulsions.

  • Unconsciousness.

  • Disorientation.

  • Diarrhea.

Some individuals decide to use the substance because it has hallucinatory effects. High doses, though, can be lethal.

How to Identify Jimson Weed?

Jjimson’s weed can grow upto 5 feet. The plant has a light green stem and oval, serrated-edged leaves that are green or have purple undertones. The trumpet-shaped flowers come in white or purple color.

Symptoms and Signs:

The degree of exposure to the toxin will determine how the body responds to it. The following signs can be seen if a person comes in contact with the plant:

  • Rash.

  • Blisters.

  • Streaking.

  • Patches.

  • Itching.

  • Swelling.

What to Do if a Person Comes Into Contact With a Poisonous Plant?

Take urgent action if someone has come in contact with dangerous plants. Start by minimizing harm in one of the ways listed below:

  • If someone has ingested poison and is aware, not convulsing, and able to swallow, assist them in drinking a small amount of water or milk if they are burning or irritated.

  • Remove contact lenses, and immediately run water over the affected eye for at least 15 to 20 minutes to remove the poison in the eye. It could be simpler for adults or older kids to rinse their eyes in the shower.

  • If the person has poison on their clothing, they should take it off immediately and wash their skin with running water.

  • Toxic gases or vapors should not be breathed in, so seek fresh air.


Poisonous plants have severe health effects on people and can grow in most nearby areas. One must seek medical health immediately after coming in contact with poisonous plants. Some of these poisonous plants can be life-threatening.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are Called Poisonous Plants?

Poisonous plants are those plants that, when touched or ingested in adequate quantity, will turn harmful and even fatal to the organism or plant. It is capable of producing a toxic or fatal response. Examples of poisonous plants include poison oak, poison sumac, and poison ivy.


Which Is the Most Poisonous Plant?

The most poisonous plant found in the western hemisphere is belladonna, or devil’s cherry/dwale/deadly nightshade. The plant contains tropane alkaloids. 
Other poisonous plants include tobacco, oleander, rosary pea, castor bean, white snakeroot, and water hemlock.


What Is Called a Poisonous Flower?

Some of the most poisonous flowers in the world include:
- Nerium oleander is recognized as one of the poisonous flowers and is toxic from tip to root. All parts of the plant are poisonous.
- Aconitum is another of the most poisonous flowers that can cause cardiac muscle paralysis and death.
- Rafflesia, which is the world’s largest individual flower, is another one of the world’s most poisonous flowers.
- Deadly nightshade contains atropine that can cause hallucinations.


Which Green Plants Are Poisonous?

- Poison ivy has oily sap in its leaves which results in allergic reactions making the skin swollen, red, and itchy.
- Poison oak has leaves similar to oak trees. They also contain the oily sap called urushiol that results in allergic reactions.
- Poison sumac also results in allergic reactions.


Which Plants Are Referred as the Three Leaf Poison Plants?

Poison sumac, poison oak, and poison ivy contain the same poisonous agent, urushiol. Urushiol is an odorless and colorless oil that can result in an allergic reaction. Though their appearance differs, all are poisonous and contain urushiol. Urushiol is quickly absorbed into the skin and results in an allergic reaction.


Is Spider Lily Plant Poisonous?

The red spider lily is poisonous as the plant contains lycoline. Ingestion of the plant can result in diarrhea, vomiting, and convulsions and can even be fatal. So proper precautions should be taken to prevent pets and children from accidentally ingesting the plant.


What Are Called Pink Poisonous Flowers?

The pink oleander is an ornamental shrub that may be pink, white, red, or apricot. All the plant parts are toxic, and ingestion may result in death. The flower perfume results in respiratory irritation. Symptoms of toxicity include abdominal pain, lethargy, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.


Which Roses Are Poisonous?

True roses, which include those belonging to the rosa species, are safe. But those which contain a rose in their name and are not true roses can be poisonous. These include primrose, rosebay, moss rose, Christmas rose, desert rose, or rose of Sharon.


Which Plant Is Called the Queen of Poison?

Aconitine is the queen of poison. They are perennials that mostly grow in mountainous areas. Aconitine is a secondary metabolite produced by the plant. The symptoms of toxicity include diarrhea, numbness, and uneven heart rate, which may become fatal.


Which Blue Flower Is Poisonous?

The poisonous blue flowers include a Devil's helmet, Monkshood, and Wolfsbane. These are poisonous enough to kill one in two to six hours. These were used in earlier times to produce poison-tipped arrows and spears.


Is Rose Edible?

Almost all rose varieties are edible. True roses that come under the rosa species are safe to consume. But those flowers that contain rose in their name but do not belong to the rosa species are poisonous. These include desert rose, moss rose, Christmas rose, etc.


Are Black Roses Poisonous?

Black rose succulent or Aeonium arboreum is non-poisonous to cats, dogs, livestock, people, and birds. They do not cause harm to the pets if ingested. It is a dark and tall subshrub that changes its color to black when exposed to the sun.


Is Rainbow Rose Real or Fake?

Rainbow roses are also referred to as kaleidoscope roses or happy roses. They are real but cannot be grown from seeds. The petals of the rose are artificially colored by exploiting the natural process of water uptake by the stem.


Is Sweet Pea Plant Poisonous?

Sweet peas are annual climbing plants that are mainly cultivated for their fragrant attractive flowers. Poisoning does not occur due to accidental ingestion. However, if a large amount is taken for months, then it may result in paralytic syndrome. The symptoms include breathing issues, paralysis, weak pulse, and convulsions.


Is Butterfly Pea Plant Poisonous?

Butterfly pea seeds can result in poisoning when accidentally ingested. The symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc. Young children and those with a lowered immunity are at more risk of poisoning.

Last reviewed at:
02 Mar 2023  -  5 min read




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