There are many plants and types of vegetation available to us. We utilize these plants for food, medicine, and much more; but it is important to recognize that some plants are poisonous and can have serious health consequences if ingested or touched. Many of these plants have neurological or digestive related symptoms, and in severe cases, coming into contact with these plants may be fatal. Understanding which plants to avoid can help keep us safe when hiking, foraging, and exploring plant life. Below are several examples of poisonous plants and their symptoms. General resources are also available to help you learn more about poisonous plants and how they affect the body.
Hyacinth Toxins – The bulb of a hyacinth plant is poisonous, and if ingested, can cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. In severe cases, it can be fatal.
Oleander Poisoning – Oleander, a highly poisonous plant, affects the heart and can cause extreme stress to the digestive system.
Elephant Ear – The entirety of the Elephant Ear plant is poisonous. The symptoms associated with this plant include burning and irritation to the tongue and mouth. The toxins cause the tongue to swell, disallowing the act of breathing.
Rosary Pea/Castor Bean – Ingesting a single Rosary Pea can be fatal. This red seed/berry is beautiful, but should be avoided at all costs.
Larkspur - “Young” plants and the seeds of the Larkspur may be fatal and affect the nervous system, the digestive system, and can also cause depression.
Monkshood – The fleshy part of the Monkshood root is poisonous and can upset the digestive system and cause excited nervousness.
Autumn Crocus – Vomiting and nervousness are the symptoms caused by the Autumn Crocus and should not be ingested.
Lily-of-the-Valley – Mental disorientation and confusion, an upset digestive system, and irregular pulse and heartbeat are all symptoms of the toxins found in the Lily-of-the-Valley plant's flowers and leaves.
Iris – While pretty, the Iris is still a poisonous plant. The underground stems contain toxins that upset the stomach, but this is often mildly intense.
Foxglove – The leaves of the foxglove are poisonous in large doses. Symptoms include increased and elevated heartbeat, blood pressure, and pulse. One may become confused or disoriented and in severe cases, results have been fatal.
General Poisonous Plant Resources
Poisonous Plants Native to Different Areas
The FDA's Poisonous Plant Database