Plants have always been part of the human diet and have been used as natural and medicinal remedies, being the original basis of current medicine. All parts, such as leaves, stems, flowers, and roots, have been used and continue to be used. However, the intake of certain vegetables can pose a health risk, since there are some plants that contain toxic substances, to a greater or lesser degree, for us and other animals. Some are poisonous to humans and only slightly harmful to other animals, while others are very toxic to many. Also, some of these vegetables are toxic only during certain stages of their life and others are always.
As they represent a threat to health and life itself, since in certain doses they can kill the animals they affect, it is necessary to know them in order to avoid them. For this reason, we explain which are the most poisonous plants in the world and we offer you a list with names and photos.
What are the most poisonous plants – list of names
There are countries, such as Spain, where by law the sale of certain plants has been prohibited due to their content of toxic substances. For example, in the case of this country, ORDER SCO / 190/2004, dated January 28, came into force in May 2004, which indicates the list of plants whose public sale is prohibited or restricted for reasons of toxicity. Specifically, this list includes 197 species of plants that are prohibited due to their poisonous content for humans, so in this case, they are poisonous plants in Spain, although many of them are found in other places on the planet.
Among the most poisonous plants, trees, and flowers in the world we can find a large number of these vegetables that can cause great damage to our health and that of many other animals and even lead to death. Although it may seem curious, while all the following plants are dangerous for humans, cats, dogs, and many other living beings, some of them can also be consumed by some animal species, especially small birds that eat the seeds, which have adapted to their venom throughout their evolution to be able to use them for food. Thus, below we present the following list and in the next sections we will talk about each of them:
The 10 most poisonous plants in the world
- Oleander ( Nerium oleander )
- Hemlock ( Cicuta matulata )
- American licorice (A brus precatorius)
- Belladonna ( Atropa belladonna )
- Infernal fig or castor bean ( Ricinus communis )
- Common yew or black yew ( Taxus baccata )
- Ageratina altissima
- Common Aconite ( Aconitum napellus )
- Jimson weed ( Datura stramonium )
- Manzanillo of death ( Hippomane mancinella )
Oleander, the most poisonous plant in the world
For those who wonder what toxic plants are, it may surprise you to learn that the plant considered the most poisonous in the world is one with very beautiful and showy flowers: the oleander or pink laurel. Although its origin is in the Mediterranean, it is currently found in the rest of the areas of Spain, the United States, Argentina, China, and Australia.
Scientifically known as Nerium oleander, this plant is without a doubt the one that can cause the most serious damage to someone, and even cause death. In fact, honey can be extracted from its nectar and it can even cause the death of a great variety of animal species, including us.
Oleander contains several toxins, all of which affect the heart, but the most potent is oleandrin. Its ingestion produces symptoms such as vomiting, severe stomach pain, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, very irregular heartbeat, and, finally, death.
Another of the most toxic plants, in fact, considered the second most poisonous in the world, is hemlock. It is scientifically known as Cicuta matulata and is considered the most poisonous plant on the American continent, which is why its use should certainly be avoided. Specifically, it is a plant native to North America and the toxin it contains is cicutoxin, which is found in greater quantity in the roots of the plant.
Those who have been poisoned with hemlock suffer violent seizures, general pain, nausea, vomiting, cramps, muscle tremors and may even die. Those who survive always have long-term side effects, such as amnesia.
Another common poisonous plant is the American licorice or Abrus precatorius . It has some very striking red seeds that are even used in jewelry, but when the shell is opened its content is really dangerous. The seeds of this Indonesian plant, which is also found in other tropical and subtropical areas, contain abrin, a very powerful toxin, since only a small part of the content of a seed (about 3 mg approximately) can cause death. One of the most serious effects it has is that it prevents proper protein synthesis.
Symptoms of American licorice poisoning are nausea, vomiting, dehydration, kidney, liver, and spleen problems, since these organs atrophy. If the vapors are inhaled instead of being eaten in any way, symptoms such as breathing problems, fluid in the lungs, nausea, and fever occur.
Belladonna is a commonly known poisonous plant and its scientific name is Atropa belladonna. In this case, its toxins affect the nervous system and, after a certain dose, it can paralyze the nerve endings of the muscles that are involuntary reflexes, such as paralyzing the sensations that can be felt in them or the contractions that they perform. , as in the heart or in the muscles of the digestive system.
This plant native to parts of Europe, western Asia, and North Africa, although now also found in North America, contains toxins called atropine and scopolamine. These toxins are found in its berries, leaves, stems, and roots, that is, practically throughout the plant. The generally toxic amount is between 10 and 20 berries, therefore in smaller quantities, it has sometimes been used in medicine and as a natural remedy.
It causes symptoms such as sensitivity to light and blurred vision due to greatly dilating the pupils, headaches, confusion, and seizures.
Castor bean or infernal fig tree
The infernal fig tree, more commonly known as castor bean or Ricinus communis is a plant that is actually cultivated to produce castor oil, which is used in many areas such as in the manufacture of lubricant, brake fluids, paints, and even in beauty.
This plant is native to Africa, but today it is found all over the planet, and its intake causes various symptoms and even death, due to the fact that it contains a very toxic substance called ricin. The symptoms of consuming castor bean, especially its seeds, are cramps in the abdominal area, nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding and kidney failure, even kidney failure.
Common yew or black yew
The Taxus baccata has been used throughout history for many purposes, and today is still used for some, such as paclitaxel drug used to stop or slow some cancers. For this, the extract of common yew is used in the exact amounts, since from a certain dose it is toxic since it contains toxin.
Consuming the leaves and seeds of this plant native to the United Kingdom produces symptoms such as dry mouth, pupil dilation, dizziness, weakness, cardiac arrhythmia, which can cause death.
Although it is not a very well-known plant, it is one of the poisonous wild plants found in North America. This herbaceous plant contains a toxin called tremetol, which is why the consumption of Ageratina altissima causes poor appetite, bad breath, weakness, apathy, generalized but mild pain, muscle stiffness, abdominal discomfort, severe constipation, vomiting, and, finally, the passage of time, coma and death if the poisoning is not treated in time.
The common aconite or Aconitum napellus is a well-known poisonous plant, as it has been used over time as a natural remedy in very small quantities, but it has also been used in wars to poison arrowheads and bullets.
The root and stem are the most dangerous parts since they contain the most aconitine, the toxin that makes this plant so dangerous. The Aconitum napellus is in the more mountainous areas of Europe and consume causes burns to the mouth, excessive salivation, diarrhea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, coma, and death.
It is native to America and, specifically, the Datura stramonium plant is found in Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean. Jimsonweed contains atropine and escolopamina, so it is a psychoactive plant since these toxins can cause hallucinations, delusions, aggressiveness, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate well, seizures, eating, and death. Seeds are the most dangerous part of Jimson weed, much more so than its leaves, stems, or roots.
Manzanillo of death
Finally, the Hippomane Mancinelli or Manzanillo de la Muerte is a very poisonous tree. It is located in Central America, especially in the Caribbean, and all parts of the tree contain toxins like Hippomenes A and B . These toxins affect us so seriously that inhaling the sawdust or smoke when the wood burns already produces symptoms such as bronchitis, laryngitis and a lot of coughing.
If this plant is consumed it causes throat inflammation and very serious gastrointestinal problems, while if you have contact with internal parts of the plant, for example when opening or eating a fruit or breaking a branch, these substances cause inflammation, burns, and blisters, and, if it occurs in the eyes, up to blindness due to burns.