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5 Deceptively Pretty But Highly Toxic Plants and Flowers

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

In the plant kingdom, the most beautiful blooms hide a dark, terrifying secret. They can turn deadly. Some of the most common flowering plants could cause convulsions, headaches, and even death. Children are the most vulnerable to these toxic plants. In fact, 85% of all cases related to plant poisoning involved children under the age of six.

Cosmetics, skin care products and other personal care products also carry toxins from plant sources. So before filling your garden with beautiful blooms, better do your research. You might be unknowingly turning your garden into a death trap. In today’s post, we are listing down common flowers and plants that are toxic to humans and animals:

1. Narcissus

Narcissus refers to a genus of spring perennial plant that belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family. Narcissus produce beautiful, white and yellow flowers. But if a child or a pet ingests the bulbs, it causes nausea, cramps, and diarrhea. You see, narcissus plants like daffodils and jonquils are toxic to children and pets. If ingested, a doctor might recommend hydration and drugs given intravenously to prevent the symptoms from getting worse.

2. Rhododendron

Rhododendron is a class of woody plants that belong to the Ericaceae family. These evergreens and deciduous plants are native to Asia, but it’s also widespread in North America. Rhododendrons have colorful, bell-shaped flowers. But the flowers and viscous honey made from its flower nectar are highly toxic to humans and animals. Eating the flowers or flower nectar will cause inflammation, salivation, vomiting, and diarrhea. It will also cause a tingling, burning sensation in the skin.

Other symptoms include weakness, dim vision, and headaches. The heart rate slows down and then the patient will go into a coma. Poisoning from rhododendrons could also cause fatal convulsions and death.

3. Oleander

Oleander is an evergreen wildflower that’s highly toxic. Every part of the oleander plant is toxic to humans and animals. Even accidentally inhaling the smoke of a burning oleander causes health problems. Any food or object touched by oleander will become poisonous. But despite its danger, oleander remains as one of the most common garden plants in California and the Southwest.

Symptoms of oleander poisoning include erratic or slow heartbeat and abnormally high potassium levels. A doctor could administer medications that could bring down the heart rate to normal and try to induce vomiting. The patient could either get his stomach pumped or made to ingest charcoal to absorb the poison.

4. Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley is a woodland flowering plant that belongs to the Asparagaceae family. It features dainty drooping flowers and emits a sweet scent. It’s also toxic from the flowers to the roots. Being exposed to Lily of the Valley won’t cause poisoning. But accidentally ingesting the flowers will cause nausea, burning sensation in the mouth and diarrhea. It will also cause severe abdominal pain and slow or erratic heartbeat. Treatment for Lily of the valley poisoning includes pumping the stomach and ingesting charcoal to neutralize the toxins.

5. Deadly Nightshade

It’s not called deadly for nothing. Deadly nightshade – also known as belladonna – is a perennial herbaceous plant that belongs to the Solanaceae family. It features striking flowers that are extremely toxic. Deadly nightshade contains a cocktail of toxins including scopolamine and hyoscyamine. These compounds cause powerful hallucinations and delirium.

Symptoms of deadly nightshade poisoning include palpitation, dilated pupil and slurred speech. Other symptoms include disorientation, agitation, and severe vomiting. If left untreated, the patient could slip into a coma and die from violent convulsions.

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