Stay Clear: 17 Deadly Plants That Might Be Growing in Your Backyard

Nature’s beauty can often be deceiving, and your backyard may be home to more danger than you think. In this article, we’ll look at 17 poisonous plants that you should stay clear of.

Rosary Pea

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This plant produces seeds that contain abrin, a toxin that can be fatal even in small doses. According to Poison Control, “symptoms typically begin within a few hours after ingestion but can be delayed for up to 5 days.”

Water Hemlock

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This is considered one of the most toxic plants in North America. It contains cicutoxin which affects the central nervous system.

Oleander

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Every part of this plant is poisonous and according to Colorado State University, even a single leaf can be lethal to a child eating it. It contains cardiac glycosides that can cause heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, and even death.

Deadly Nightshade

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Deadly nightshade can cause dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, severely dry mouth and throat, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, convulsions.

White Snakeroot

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This plant contains the toxic alcohol tremetol. If ingested by cattle, the meat and milk become toxic, causing milk sickness in humans.

Giant Hogweed

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This plant’s sap can cause photodermatitis, which leads to skin inflammations when exposed to sunlight.

Manchineel

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Although not typically found in the continental US, this plant does grow in places such as Florida and Central America. Contact with any part of this tree can cause strong allergic dermatitis. It’s often referred to as the world’s most dangerous tree.

Ricin

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The seeds of this plant contain ricin, one of the most toxic substances known. According to the CDC, “It would take a deliberate act to make ricin and use it to poison people. Unintentional exposure to ricin is highly unlikely, except through the ingestion of castor beans.”

Doll’s Eyes

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The berries of this plant contain cardiogenic toxins which can have an immediate sedative effect on human cardiac muscle tissue and are the most poisonous part of the plant.

Jimsonweed

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This plant is toxic to humans and animals, causing hallucinations and potentially fatal respiratory problems.

Angel’s Trumpets

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According to Healthline, the plant is not illegal, and “most gardeners can safely grow these plants without ever risking accidental poisoning.” However, all parts of this plant are toxic if digested and can cause hallucinations, dry mouth, muscle weakness, increased pulse, fever, and confusion.

Death Camas

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All parts of this plant, especially the bulb, are poisonous, causing nausea, salivation, vomiting, increased heart rate, headache, dizziness, difficulty breathing, coma, and even death.

Yew Tree

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The leaves, seed, and bark of this tree can cause difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, seizures, and death.

Monkshood

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The roots, foliage, and seeds of this plant contain aconitine, a powerful and deadly neurotoxin. According to WebMD, “most severe poisonings happen as a result of ingesting monkshood, but you can also easily absorb the poison through the skin.”

Strychnine Tree

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The seeds of this tree contain strychnine, a powerful poison that affects the nervous system, leading to painful convulsions and death.

Autumn Crocus

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This plant contains colchicine, a toxic alkaloid that can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, it can result in kidney failure, respiratory failure, and even death if consumed in large quantities.

Foxglove

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Foxglove is known for its tall, bell-shaped flowers. However, it’s also highly toxic. The plant’s leaves, seeds, and flowers all contain a type of toxin called cardiac glycosides. These compounds can cause a range of symptoms if ingested, including nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, convulsions, and potentially fatal heart problems. It’s worth noting that, when used properly, these compounds can also be used to create heart medications.

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