Plants that Kill
Have you ever heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” It means that things that look good on the outside aren’t always good on the inside. Oleander, lily-of-the-valley, mistletoe, and azaleas are all beautiful plants. But don’t let their vibrant colors fool you. Eating any one of them can cause you to get very sick—or even die.
Buttercups look good enough to eat. They are delicate and colorful. But if a cow takes just one bite its juices can severely injure its digestive system.
If you live in the South or have ever visited there, you might be familiar with oleander’s pretty white, pink, or red clusters of flowers and green leaves that look like mini pinwheels. Oleander leaves contain the toxins oleandrin and nerioside. If a horse ate about 30 dried or wilted leaves, it would die within hours.
Some plants even release cyanide. Cyanide is a compound of carbon and nitrogen that can be deadly if swallowed. Many berry plants contain cyanide. They include mistletoe, yews, lantana, or moonseed. Never eat berries from plants or trees unless you check with an adult first.
Here are some other toxic plants.
|Plant||Toxic Part||Symptoms if eaten|
|Amaryllis||whole plant||intestinal problems|
|Azalea or Rhododendron||leaves, nectar||serious illness or death|
|Chrysanthemum||leaves||vomiting or severe rash|
|Clematis||whole plant||nervous system problems, skin rash, intestinal problems|
|English Ivy||berries, leaves||skin irritation and intestinal problems|
|Foxglove||whole plant||cardiovascular and intestinal problems|
|Hydrangea||flower buds||serious illness or death|
|Mistletoe||leaves, stems, berries||skin irritation and intestinal problems|
|Periwinkle||whole plant||serious illness or death|