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Poisonous Plants: Common Indoor/Outdoor Plants that Most People Don't Know are Poisonous

Some of the most poisonous substances are those that are literally right under our noses -- plants in our homes and gardens. Most at risk are children -- who will taste plant leaves, berries and flowers out of curiosity -- and pets.

Nearly 7 percent of poisonings in children under 6 are caused by poisonous plants, according to the National Capitol Poison Center, but adults, too, may unintentionally ingest a toxic plant.

Below is a list of some of the most common plants you may find in your home (though the list is NOT comprehensive) or yard. If you identify a poison plant in your home, keep it safely out of reach of children and pets. In your yard, always be sure children and pets are supervised.

And, always teach young children that they should never taste any plant, including berries and mushrooms, that they find.

1. Daffodil (Narcissus)
Daffodils contain poisonous alkaloids called narcitine and narcicysteine.

Poisonous Parts: All, especially bulbs

Symptoms: Abdominal pains, vomiting, nausea, lightheadedness, shivering, possibly diarrhea

Location: Daffodils are typically an outdoor plant, but may be kept indoors during the winter. Cut daffodils are a common ornamental flower for indoor arrangements.

2. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Foxglove contains digitoxin -- one of several cardiac glycosides in the plant -- which is extremely toxic.

Poisonous Parts: All, including leaves, seeds

Symptoms: Major disturbances to heartbeat and pulse, abdominal pains, diarrhea, nausea

Location: Outdoors

3. Iris (Iris)
Irises contain the potentially toxic compounds irisin, iridin, or irisine.

Poisonous Parts: Bulb, leaves, stem

Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, skin irritation

Location: Can be a houseplant or an outdoor plant

4. Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
The toxic components in Jerusalem cherry are solanine and other solanidine alkaloids.

Poisonous Parts: Leaves, unripe fruit

Symptoms: Abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, vomiting, headache, lowered temperature, dilated pupils, diarrhea, circulatory and respiratory depression, loss of sensation -- may be fatal

Location: Outdoors

5. Lily of the Valley (Convdleria majalis)
Lily of the Valley contains about 20 poisonous glycosides, including convalatoxin, convalarin, convalamarin, and saponins.

Poisonous Parts: All

Symptoms: Strong headache, nausea, vomiting, slow pulse, excessive urination

Location: Outdoors

6. Morning Glory (Ipomoea)
Morning Glory contains toxic indole alkaloids.

Poisonous Parts: Seeds or skin contact with sap

Symptoms: Hallucinations, dilated pupils, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, numbness of extremities, headache and muscle tightness.

Location: Houseplant or outdoors

7. Oleander (Nerium oleander)
The toxic compound in oleander is called glycoside oleandrin.

Poisonous Parts: Stems, flowers, leaves

Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, accelerated or retarded heartbeat, and cardiac arrest

Location: Outdoors

8. Castor Bean (Ricinis communis)
The Castor Bean contains the alkaloid ricinin and the toxalbumin ricin, both of which are extremely toxic.

Poisonous Parts: All, especially the beans

Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, stomachache, bloody diarrhea, headache, cold sweat, sleepiness, disorientation, fever, shortage of breath, seizures, and even death.

Location: Outdoors

9. Philodendron (Philodendron)
Philodendron contains poisonous calcium oxalate.

Poisonous Parts: All

Symptoms: Burning and swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat, difficulty speaking, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritation

Location: Houseplant

10. Holly (Ilix)
Holly contains several components that can be toxic, including illicin, triterpenoids, and possibly saponic glycosides.

Poisonous Parts: Leaves and berries

Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

Location: Outdoors

Recommended Reading

Flower Power: What Each of the 20 Most Popular Flowers Symbolize & Other Interesting Facts

The Health Benefits of House Plants, Including the Top Nine Healthiest Plants!


National Capitol Poison Center

North Carolina State Consumer Horticulture

ThinkQuest: Poisonous Plants and Animals

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