Did you know, these plants can kill you?

Water hemlock

Experts say many popular plants are toxic to humans and animals and can cause serious health problems or even death if handled carelessly. Before you put yourself or your loved ones at risk, read on to find out which popular plants experts say can kill you.    


It may have pretty flowers that resemble Queen Anne’s lace, but water hemlock is not only invasive but poisonous. Although it is unlikely to grow on a property, its invasive nature as a common weed means it can find its way into your garden or surrounding area.   

Lily of the valley

Do not be fooled by the pink flowers of the plants – they are highly toxic. The toxins in the plant can affect the central nervous system and lead to death by asphyxiation in humans and animals, explains horticulturalist Thomas ORourke in the journal Gardener and Horticulture. O’Rourke says if you notice water hemlock on your property, the best course of action is to seek advice from a specialist to avoid illness or injury.   


The consequences of eating the plant can be deadly for children, says Pol Bishop, an expert in horticulture and landscaping and a keen gardener, noting that parts of the plant, including its fruits, are toxic. Although there are few reports of deaths from the plant itself, it is known to cause accidental poisoning in many parts of the world, particularly in animals such as horses, dogs, and cattle, explains ORourke. He points out that the plant should never be grown on children or pets’ property. Although it looks pretty, the plant poses serious health risks when ingested. The ingestion of this plant is deadly for both humans and animals. Symptoms after taking this plant include vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, and heart problems, adds Bishop. Bishop recommends calling a poison center if you have reason to believe a member of your household took this plant.    



While its stems are a tasty addition to pie jams and other recipes, rhubarb leaves are poisonous to humans. Bishop says that the leaves contain acid, which forms calcium oxalate crystals that can irritate the skin, throat, mouth, and tongue, causing severe problems such as shortness of breath, swollen throat, and burns. In rare cases, excessive consumption of the leaves can be fatal. You will want to protect yourself and your loved ones who take care of thimble on your property with the utmost respect. Some parts of the plant are toxic.   


While the plants make colorful flowers and glossy leaves an attractive addition to your garden, the Daphne bush is a severe threat to your safety. According to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Plant Science, ingesting any part of the plant in addition to its caustic sap can be fatal for humans and animals. The plant contains cardiac glycosides, which are highly toxic to humans. The berries and branches of the plants are also highly poisonous. A direct encounter with fresh branches of the shrub can lead to severe rashes and eczema in people with sensitive skin, says Bishop.  


The easy-care and lively pothole plant is a fixed size in countless households. However, the plant can also pose serious safety risks. Some varieties of Pothos contain calcium oxalate crystals which can cause burns, swelling in the mouth, and gastrointestinal upset, explains the gardener Erinn Witz, co-founder of Seed in Spades.

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