Like animals, many plants also have developed a variety of ways of protecting themselves from herbivorous animals. Many plants have evolved spikes, stings and even just an unpleasant taste as a defence mechanism. But there are hundreds of plants that are so poisonous that you should probably stay away from.
Rosary Pea or Abrus precatorius & Castor Bean plant or Ricinus communis, which is so poisonous that it has been compared with cyanide and held the Guinness Book of World Records, for being the most poisonous plant in the world, are two of such plants that are highly toxic. Rosary Pea consists of a natural toxin called abrin which, if consumed, will prevent cells from creating proteins they demanded with creating several other problems. Apart from these two, here are 10 other Deadliest Plant You Should Stay Away From.
10 Deadliest Plants You Should Stay Away From
1. Hippomane Mancinella or Manchineel:
The fruits of this tree are known as ‘little apples of death’. Found in coastal regions of Florida, South and Central America, all parts of this tree, including the fruit, contain toxic phorbol esters. This tree is so poisonous that even standing beneath the tree during rain will cause blistering of the skin and if you burn the tree and the smoke reaches your eyes, It can cause blindness. The fruit can also be fatal if consumed. This tree is often marked with a danger sign.
2. Dendrocnide Moroides:
Also known as the stinging brush or the suicide plant, Dendrocnide Moroides is commonly found in rainforest areas in the northeast of Australia. The whole plant is covered with stinging hairs that deliver a potent neurotoxin when in contact. The silica-tipped hairs can cause an extremely painful stinging sensation that can last from several hours to 1-2 days and even a year if not removed. That plant is known to kill dogs, horses, and drive humans mad with pain.
3. Cerbera Odollam or The Suicide Tree:
One of the most poisonous plants in the world, Cerbera Odollam or The Suicide Tree contains cerberin, a potent toxin related to digoxin known for blocking the calcium ion channels in heart muscle, causing disruption of the heartbeat. The suicide tree is fatal and more than often used in homicides. In fact, according to a survey, no plant in the world is responsible for as many deaths by suicide as the odollam tree. Between 1989 and 1999, more than 500 cases of fatal Cerbera poisoning has been documented in Kerala, India.
4. Colchicum Autumnale or Meadow Saffron:
The bulbs of the plant Colchicum Autumnale contains colchicine which has been compared to arsenic poisoning. The poison can cause burning in the mouth and throat, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and kidney failure and even multiple-system organ failure. The plant can also cause hypovolemic shock due to extreme vascular damage and fluid loss through the GI tract, resulting in death.
5. Oleander or Nerium oleander:
Originally native to Asia, all parts of the Jericho rose or oleander is poisonous. The Italian name for oleander is Ass killer which totally makes sense as the plant contains nerioside, oleandroside, saponins and cardiac glycosides which can cause severe digestive upset, heart trouble, and contact dermatitis and can be fatal. Even the smoke of burning oleander can cause reactions in the lungs.
6. Brugmansia or Angel’s Trumpet:
All parts of Brugmansia or Angel’s Trumpet contains often fatal natural poisons such as the tropane alkaloids scopolamine and atropine. These plants are closely related to Datura, another toxic plant that has trumpets like flowers and contains the same deadly alkaloids. Consumption of this plant can cause several problems including losing connection with reality and hallucinations. Reportedly, a young man performed self-amputation after intentionally ingesting Brugmansia tea.
7. Atropa Belladonna or Deadly nightshade:
Atropa Belladonna is one of the most toxic plants found in the Western Hemisphere as well as in the world. All parts of the plant are full of tropane alkaloids. Consuming this plant can cause dilated pupils, blurred vision, tachycardia, headache, flushing, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, hallucinations, delirium, and other difficulties. The root of the plant is generally the most toxic part and even ingestion of a single leaf can be fatal to an adult.
8. Aconitum Napellus or Wolfsbane:
Wolfsbane was used to kill wolves in the past, hence the name. All parts of this tree are poisonous and contain an alkaloid called aconitine which is known to disable nerves, lowers blood pressure, and can stop the heart. The plant can cause numbness, tingling, and cardiac irregularity. It’s so poisonous that even casual skin contact should be avoided. During World War II, it was used as a poison for bullets and has been used as a bait and arrow poison in ancient Greece.
9. White Snakeroot or Ageratina altissima:
All parts of White snakeroot or Ageratina altissima contain tremetol, a toxic oil which causes, if consumed, nausea and vomiting and is often fatal. The milk sickness is also related to this plant which can sicken or kill humans. It is caused by drinking milk from cattle that have eaten white snakeroot. During the early 19th century, thousands were killed by milk sickness. Milk sickness also was said to be the possibly the cause of death of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, mother of Abraham Lincoln in 1818.
10. Gloriosa Superba or Flame Lily:
Toxic enough to cause fatalities in human and animals, Flame Lily contains poisons in every part of the plant. It contains high levels of colchicine, a toxic alkaloid, and the alkaloid gloriocine. If consumed it can cause nausea, vomiting, numbness and tingling, burning, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhoea. And if not treated it can cause respiratory depression, hypotension, haematuria, altered mental status, seizures, and coma.