7 Most Poisonous Plants
While most plants are leafy and harmless, there are a few plants that if ingested can kill you cold. As a guideline, you should refrain from eating wild plants, but if you come across any of the following, it becomes a rule; DO NOT EAT.
1. Castor Bean
Ricinus communis as it is known by nobody is the plant responsible for the castor bean. While castor bean plants yield castor oil (which cures what ails you if taken in small doses before 1955), it also holds deadly amounts of the toxin ricin.
A bowl of castor beans ready to murder anyone looking for a handful of almonds
Ricin is most present in the seeds of this plant, meaning poisoning is mostly a threat for pets, babies and idiots. Fortunately, although enough ricin can be fatal, it is easily treatable in adults if help is sought quickly. Unfortunately, because the two main culprits of accidental ingestion are babies and pets, not everyone is as lucky. As a general rule, anyone with children or dogs should refrain from making their own castor oil at home.
2. Deadly Nightshade
Although it sounds like a comic book villain, deadly nightshade is actually a rather harmless-looking plant. However, for those who use looks as the basis for whether or not to eat something, nightshade offers a pretty unwelcome surprise.
If looks could kill...
While horses, sheep and birds can’t get enough of the leaves or luscious ripe berries that deadly nightshade offers, this plant is 100% deadly poison to humans. Anywhere from 2-20 berries are enough to kill an adult, meaning no matter how delicious they look, be sure to avoid deadly nightberries.
Once again, paying the slightest attention to the names of some of these plants should be all you need to know in order to understand that ingesting them would be a bad idea.
You distinguish the chokecherry from regular cherries by the way they look EXACTLY THE SAME
Chokecherry is high in hydrocyanic acid. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I know that “hydro” means “water,” which would lead one to believe that these cherries are okay to eat as water is essential for life. However I also know that “cyanic” means “cyanide,” and “acid” means “acid.” Therefore, by paying attention to this miniature etymology lesson, we can deduce that “chokecherry” is filled with “water cyanide acid,” and therefore “shouldn’t be eaten ever.”
4. Rosary Pea
This small, colorful seed is chocked full of the ultra-concentrated poison abrin, which means it is the perfect choice for a religious adornment.
If at any point you eat part of this, pray faster.
Once again, the truth is in the name as these seeds are used predominately for rosary making. While very few people have ever eaten their rosaries, it can be certain that those who did were not forced to wait long before meeting their heavenly creator. As little as one of these seeds can shut down your kidneys, liver and spleen, which would then result in almost instant death. Although the rosary is a symbol of faith, eating one would be a display of idiocy.
5. Water Hemlock
Whether you’re poisoning the neighborhood cats, mixing a potion or planning on executing Socrates, nothing works better than hemlock.
Water Hemlock, before poisoning someone
Unlike other plants on this list, hemlock offers not only a quick but also a rather violent death for all those who ingest it. Violent convulsions and muscle tremors as the body shuts down are common in hemlock poisoning. Although this flower looks rather pretty, ingesting it could get rather ugly.
Also known as Wolf’s Bane, Monkshood is another one of those “so-often-featured-as-an-ingredient-in-the-potions-of-TV-witches” plants.
Because they look like little hoods. And, just like the robes of monks, they are bright purple.
Wolf’s Bane actually gets its nickname as it has been known to poison and kill wolves, birds and other wild animals who graze on the plant. Though that explains the nickname, it is still unclear as to which monks happened to give the plant its actual title.
Often considered to be the mother load of poisonous plants, Oleander contains a cocktail of natural poisons, all of which can be fatal if eaten.
A lovely bouquet of death
Oleander is a dense and somewhat pretty shrub that is found throughout North America. Although its ability to grow quickly in less than ideal climates and soil makes it a favorite of construction workers or anyone else who is planting foliage in a hurry, its presence makes it a danger to any human or animals around it. While eating the beautiful shrubbery on the side of the road may seem like a good idea, doing so could be the last idea you have.
There are hundreds of poisonous plants growing freely in the United States. While the effects of the poison can range from sickness to death, there are toxins in far more plants than most people realize. As a general rule, I would suggest sticking to salads for the greens in your diet, and leaving the bushes and shrubs outside alone.7 Most Poisonous Plants