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Poisonous Ornamental Plants

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa May 4, 2019
There are about 350,000 species of plants. These include decorative varieties, out of which some are poisonous, while others are non-poisonous. Here we discuss the latter type.
Plants are considered to be the backbone of a garden. The usually non-hazardous and safe-looking ones may be life-threatening too. Let's get to know some of the ornamental varieties that pose a serious threat.


Native to the Himalayas and eastern Asia, the Chinaberry plant has been introduced to the southern United States.
Its leaves have insecticidal properties. They are used for storage of grains and fruits. The 5-grooved seeds are used in making rosemary or articles made of beads, but it is fatal if you consume it.
The symptoms of poisoning occur few hours after ingestion. These include vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea, feces with presence of blood, stomach pain, pulmonary congestion, rigidity, lack of coordination, and general weakness. It can also lead to death within 24 hours of consumption.


The romantic cascades of lush blue, pink, or white are Wisterias. They are found in the south and southwest of America.
It is believed that the plant, excluding flowers, is poisonous. Also known as the kidney bean tree, it causes vomiting, nausea, cramps, and diarrhea when eaten. Treatment includes intravenous hydration and anti-nausea pills.


The enchanting looking purple, white, or pink bell-shaped flowers with or without dots are called Foxgloves. This variety is used for the preparation of drugs for cardiac problems.
If any part of the plant is eaten, it may cause nausea, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, abdominal pain, serious hallucinations, delirium, and severe headache. Depending on the dose, it may cause blockage of arteries in the heart, also affecting the rate at which it pumps blood. Drugs like Lidocaine have to be administered for bringing the heart rate to normal.


Consumption of the bulbs, cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The ingestion of the stem leads to blurred vision, headache, and vomiting. Intravenous hydration and drugs may be recommended by the doctor to treat nausea and diarrhea. 
The calcium oxalate in the sap causes "daffodil itch", which is often seen in florists. The symptoms include dryness, fissures, scaling, and redness of skin (especially on the hands). Thickening of the portion of skin beneath the fingernails is often observed.

Deadly Night Shade

The usage of these night-loving plants is well-documented since the olden days. The ancient Greeks used it for hallucination and torture.
The person who is given this deadly poison often fails to find the difference between truth and fantasy. It is used as a sedative in Nepal. Moroccans use it to increase the memory and as an aphrodisiac. It is also used to fortify marijuana by illegal drug traders.

Manchineel Tree

The Manchineel tree is native to Florida, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Central America, and northern part of South America. The tree and its parts contain toxic substances.
A white milky substance is secreted during rainfall. It is advisable not to take shade under this tree during rains, as mere contact with the substance causes blistering of the skin. One should be careful while burning it too, as the smoke may lead to blindness. The sap can potentially cause a slow and painful death.

Yellow Jessamine

The eye-catching yellow flowers of this twining vine are often confused by children as honey-suckle. 
The plant contains toxic alkaloids -- gelsemine and gelsiminine. It causes nausea and vomiting. The nectar gathered from the flowers may cause brood death in bees. The sap may also cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals.
Despite the hazards, we grow many of these poisonous plants in our gardens for aesthetic and ornamental beauty of their flowers. Hence, ensure you carry out the necessary research and take utmost care.