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Poisonous Plants in Your Life and Neighborhood

Updated on February 19, 2016

Poisonous plants are growing in yards, gardens, houses and offices all over the world and probably in your own neighborhood or yard, maybe even in your house. Several thousand cases of poisonings from plants occur every year, many resulting with severe reactions and illnesses. Most Children and adults are unaware of the dangers that could arise from nibbling or eating the most innocent looking plant. A poisonous plant can affect the central nervous system, gastrointestinal and circulatory systems and cause serious problems including death in some instances. Circulatory problems occur within thirty to fifty minutes after ingesting several types of plants including: Mistletoe, Oleander, Poison Hemlock, Rhododendron, Potato sprouts, Mountain Laurel, Lily of the Valley, Lantana, Monkshood, Indian Poke, Green Hellebore, Foxglove, False Hellebore, Baneberry, Autumn Crocus, Rosary Pea, Snakeberry and Yew.

Classical signs of circulatory collapse are rapid heart rate, falling blood pressure, sweating, cyanosis and weakness. Since there are no antidotes for most plant poisonings, you must treat the circulatory collapse. Place the patient in a supine position ( laying down on the back, face up ) with the legs elevated. Keep the patient warm and dial 911 immediately! Be prepared to administer CPR if necessary and if the patient is awake and conscious, you should administer one to two glasses of water and one tablespoon of ipecac. If possible, collect any plant material that is expelled by vomiting and transport with patient to the hospital for identification.

Various other types of plants that are common in our daily lives can be responsible for causing gastrointestinal disturbances, some severe, some not, depending on the plant and the amount consumed. Vomiting and diarrhea may follow within twenty to thirty minutes after consuming these common plants: ( Note, some are from the list above. ) Baneberry, Bloodroot, Caladium, Castor Bean, Daffodil, Fly Mushroom, Four O’clock, Foxglove, Hyacinth, Inkberry, Iris, Jack in the Pulpit, Larkspur, Mayapple, Mistletoe, Morning Glory, Narcissus, Oak, Oleander, Pigeonberry, Poinsettia, Pokeweed, Precatory Pea, Snakeberry, Wisteria and Yew.

Treatment for this group of plants is pretty much the same as above, dilute and induce vomiting and seek medical care. For the couple of plants that are in both groups, be aware that more serious effects can occur. The next group of poisonous plants I will discuss in this article are the plants that may and can cause central nervous system disturbances such as depression, hyperactivity, hyper-excitement, stupor, mental confusion and coma. As with the other two lists, there are some repeat offenders here too, which makes them particularly dangerous.

Plants that can produce nervous system disturbances are: Apple (seed), Apricot (pit), Autumn Crocus, Baneberry, Bleeding Heart, Carolina Jessamine (same as yellow Jessamine), Cherry (pit) wild and cultivated, Daffodil, Dutchman’s breeches, False Hellebore, Fly Mushroom, Green Hellebore, Hemp, Indian Poke, Jimson Weed, Larkspur, Lima Bean (some varieties), Marijuana, Monkshood, Morning Glory, Mountain Laurel, Narcissus, Oleander, Peach (pit), Poison Hemlock, Potato (sprout), Precatory Bean, Rhododendron, Rhubarb (blade), Rosary Pea, Snakeberry, Sweet Pea, Thornapple, Water Hemlock, Yellow Jessamine (same as Carolina Jessamine).

Keep in mind that treatment should involve maintaining basic life support and getting medical attention immediately. Remember to never induce vomiting in a unconscious or convulsing person. Finally, let’s take a look at the plants that are know as skin irritants. Some of these plants can cause severe itching and burning and cause blister formations. These plants include: Buttercup, Christmas Rose, Dumbcane (dieffenbachia), Four O’clock, Iris, may apple, Oleander, Poinsettia, Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac and Yew.

Treatment for skin irritant plants should consist only of a thorough cleaning of the affected area with soap and water. A very serious side note involving the plant called Dumbcane (dieffenbachia) is that if this plant is put into your mouth, it can cause sufficient irritation and swelling of the mucous membranes to produce difficulty in swallowing, breathing and speaking. If the swelling becomes severe enough, the patient’s airway can close and they can be in danger of suffocation.

I have given you several different plants to be concerned about and many of them are in our daily lives from time to time. Please take the time to research any particular plant that interests you or may be in your particular environment.

© 2010 Jamie Page


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    • MotherThumper profile image

      Jamie Page 5 years ago from Dahlonega, Ga

      You are welcome. I enjoy writing informative articles.

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image

      PADDYBOY60 5 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      Thanks for the info.