Poisonous Plants: Morning Glory (Ipomoea) Lupin, Aconite (Monks Hood also known as Wolfs Bane)
There Are A Lot More Poisonous Garden Plants Than Most People Realize
They are not necessarily deadly poisonous, but even milder symptoms can be unpleasant, even frightening, so a bit of forewarning and knowledge may prevent a nasty surprise.
To this end, I have written a series of articles about poisonous plants, with photographs to help you to identify them. You might be shocked to learn how our pretty little friends can have such treacherous characteristics.
"They're After Me!"
Aconite (Monk's Hood), Morning Glory (Ipomea) and Lupin
Aconite is a well-known poison, but did you know that those beautiful flowering plants, Morning Glory and Lupin are also poisonous plants?
The problem is, most people simply don't know enough about poisonous plants, even though they may be handling them regularly in the garden. And why would they know, if they haven't been taught at school?
Should plant suppliers take more responsibility for educating gardeners, maybe putting warning labels on plant pots? Is this something schools should be teaching, along with morality, science and nutrition?
Perhaps there could be poisonous plant charts in doctors' surgeries, pharmacies and garden centres.
Just a thought.
Now that I've had that thought, maybe I should take it further.
The Most Important Things To Remember Are:
Don't put anything in your mouth unless
you know for certain that it is safe
Don't allow plant excretions to get on to your skin and
in particular don't let them get into sores and cuts
Don't suck your fingers in the garden without first washing them and
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR CHILDREN AND PETS
(that is, unless you are planning on despatching them
to the hereafter sooner rather than later)
Poisonous Plant Morning Glory (Ipomoea)
Poisonous Plant: Morning Glory (Ipomoea) -
What's the story, morning glory? This plant is poisonous, that's the story
Morning Glory (Ipomoea ssp) is in the same family as bindweed and sweet potato vines. They all contain toxic indole alkaloids. The entire plant contains LSD-related hallucinogens and may contain toxic levels of nitrates.
Poisonous Parts: Seeds or skin contact with sap.
Symptoms: Hallucinations, dilated pupils, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, drowsiness, numbness of extremities, headache and muscle tightness.
I have researched copiously and have not found any instances of fatal poisoning. Rather more research turned up the fact that it is a hallucinogen similar to LSD used in Shamanic rituals and generally by the indiginous Americans.
Poisonous Plant Lupin
Poisonous Plant: Lupin
Lupin poisoning affects people who eat incorrectly prepared lupin beans. Lupin bean poisoning is uncommon and medics may not recognize it. White Lupin beans closely resemble fava and lima beans and may be confused with a new variety of these by people who are not from the cultures familiar with traditional lupini preparation methods that ensure safety and minimize bitterness.
Improper preparation of bitter lupini with insufficient soaking allows pharmacologically significant amounts of anticholinergic alkaloids to remain in the beans, and poisoning symptoms result.Some people like bitter herbs and may mistakenly prepare and eat lupini without enough soaking if they have not learned of its unique preparation requirements.
Symptoms: Symptoms of lupin bean poisoning (from excess alkaloid in cooked food) include dilated unresponsive pupils, blurry vision, confusion, slowed thought and disorientation, flushed face and/or fever, palpitations,high heart rate and blood pressure, tremors, difficulty with or slurred speech, un-coordination, dizziness, burning dry mouth, stomach pain, and anxiety or "malaise".
It is important to store dry lupini beans in their original container
so that the label is present in case it needs to be identified in the event that someone becomes ill from eating poorly prepared beans
Poisonous Plant Aconite (Wolf's Bane, Monk's Hood)
Poisonous Plant: Aconite (Monk's Hood, Wolf's Bane) - Aconite Looks So Beautiful But Take Care - It's A Deadly Poison
Aconites are very ornamental, hardy perennial plants and will grow in the shade of trees. They are easily propagated by divisions of the root or by seeds; care should be taken not to leave pieces of the root where livestock might be poisoned.
Aconite roots are extremely toxic.
Several species of Aconitum have been used as arrow poisons for hunting and warfare.
If the leaves are picked without wearing gloves, the aconite toxin in the sap oozing from the picked leaves is absorbed easily through the skin causing cardiac symptoms for a couple of hours.
Aconite is often used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicines as an analgesic or an anti-inflammatory agent.
It has also been used to treat pains, agitation and indigestion. If applied to the skin or to a mucous membrane, aconite first stimulates and later paralyses or numbs the nerves to the sensations of pain, touch, and temperature; the initial tingling therefore gives place to a long-continued anaesthetic action. Great caution is required, as skin with abrasions could absorb a dangerous dose of the drug, and merely tasting some of the concentrated preparations available could be fatal. At least eleven alkaloids in aconite with varying potency and stability are responsible for the local anaesthesia of peripheral nerves.
Symptoms appear quickly following the ingestion of a poisonous dose of aconite, starting with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. These are followed by a sensation of burning, tingling, and numbness in the mouth and face, and of burning in the abdomen. In severe poisoning, pronounced motor weakness occurs and sensations of tingling and numbness spread to the limbs. Cardiovascular features include hypotension, bradycardia, sinus tachycardia, and ventricular arrhythmias. Other features may include sweating, dizziness, difficulty in breathing, headache, and confusion. The main causes of death are irregular heartbeat and asystole.
If the poison has been absorbed through the skin, tingling will start at the point of absorption and extend up the arm to the shoulder, followed by unpleasant numbness after which the heart will start to be affected. .
All patients require close monitoring of blood pressure and cardiac rhythm. Gastrointestinal decontamination with activated charcoal can be used if given within 1 hour of ingestion. The major physiological antidote is atropine, which is used to treat bradycardia. Other drugs are also used for ventricular arrhythmia. Cardiopulmonary bypass is sometimes used. Successful use of charcoal hemoperfusion has been claimed in patients with severe aconite poisoning.
Treatment of absorption of aconite through the skin is similar to the treatment for poisoning caused by oral ingestion.
A Very Recent English Murder
:In January 2009, the British 'Curry Poison Killer' Lakhvir Singh, killed her lover Lakhvinder Cheema with a curry dish laced with Indian Aconite. On 11 February 2010 she was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 23 years for the murder.
How Well DoYou Know Your History? We All Know That Queen Cleopatra Died From Poisoning......Don't We?
But can we be more specific?
Take the Poll below first, and then see how many got it right by scrolling down to just below the "Emergency First Aid" paragraph, where you'll see the correct answer shown in the blue box.
How did Queen Cleopatra die?
Emergency First Aid
Follow These Steps
Poisonous plants can cause serious illness if eaten. These include a few varieties of mushrooms, seeds, bulbs, rhizomes and berries.
Treatment of Ingestion of Poisonous Plants:
- Check and clear the airway.
- If the casualty is unconscious, check breathing and pulse, and be prepared to resuscitate if necessary. Place the casualty in the recovery position. The casualty may vomit.
- DO NOT attempt to induce vomiting.
- Assess the need to contact a medical practitioner or the emergency service. If in doubt, always contact the emergency service.
- - Try to identify the plant, and which part of it has been ingested. Keep samples of the plant, and any vomited material, to show the medical practitioner, or to send to hospital with the casualty.
How did Cleopatra Die? This is the Answer to the Multiple Choice Question Above
She is reputed to have taken her own life by being bitten by an asp, to avoid capture by her enemies in 30 BC
Links to Some News Items About Poison (Excluding Chemical Warfare About Which We've Heard Too Much Lately)
- Poisoning first aid: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Read our article and learn more on MedlinePlus: Poisoning first aid
- Kirsten Mae Vining arrested after 'planning to kill husband using castor beans to make Ricin poison'
16 August 2016 - Kirsten Mae Vining, 32, a wife and mother in Alabama, is accused of trying to kill her husband with Ricin poison. She was arrested on Friday and is being held on $50,000 bond.
- Guilty of murder: Jilted woman who left ex-lover to die in agony after poisoning him with curry lace
(Daily Mail 11th February 2010) Lakhvinder Cheema, 39, and his fiancée Gurjeet Choongh planned to marry just weeks later, on Valentine's Day, and hoped to soon start a family.But their dreams were shattered when Mr Cheema's spurned former lover took
- List of Poisonous Plants
Hospitals keep a list of procedures for you to follow when ingestion of a poisonous plant occurs, or call your 24-hour emergency veterinary service. This website gives a list of all the poisonous plants you are likely to meet
- Minamata - Poisoning by Mercury
A BBC item about Minamata disease, named after the town in Japan where mercury poisoning affected people, and which has now been found elsewhere in the world.
Remember - The Sap from a Plant May be Poisonous
Treat it with respect!
If you can't avoid skin contact, just make sure you wash your hands and any part of your body which has been in contact with a possibly poisonous substance.
And don't put anything contaminated in your mouth.
Don't scratch or rub your eyes or face if your hands have been in contact with suspect substances.
AND KEEP YOUR CHILDREN AND PETS
SAFE FROM HARM
A Popular YouTube Video About Plant Poisoning
More Poisonous Plants In This Series:
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- Poisonous Plants: Hellebore, Oleander and Vinca or P...
Did you know that Hellebore, Oleander and Periwinkle or Vinca are poisonous? Learn about poisonous plants, how to avoid them, and how to prevent an unpleasant accident.