10 Poisonous Plants That Will Kill You This Summer

    July 7, 2011 at 6:00 am

    flowersEverything in Nature is trying to kill you. That’s just a fact. It’s not just the poisonous snakes, insects, and lizards you have to worry about, either. Even the plants want you to die a horrible painful death. Since you’re far more likely to encounter deadly poisonous plants when you’re out trodding through the woods on your summer vacation, this is most likely the season that those poisonous plants are going to do you in. Here are 10 poisonous plants that will probably kill you this summer:


    Conium Maculatum

    hemlockHemlock is one of the most infamous poisonous plants around, and it’s reputation stems mainly from the fact that it’s what killed the Greek philosopher Socrates. Socrates was one of the smartest dudes in history and Hemlock still got the best of him, so how could you even stand a chance against this deadly biennial? Hemlock is incredibly poisonous to humans and animals because it contains a number of alkaloids, which is fancy science talk for “chemicals that will freakin’ kill you”. Ingesting any amount of the alkaloid coniine (and therefore any amount of Hemlock) can disrupt the central nervous system and send your muscles into paralysis. Once your lungs become paralyzed, your brain and heart stop and you die, all because you thought your camping buddies would really enjoy some all-natural tea. Nice goin’, stupid.

    Jimson Weed

    Datura Stramonium

    jimson weedJimson Weed is a member of the Nightshade family, which sounds like a group of characters in the next Final Fantasy game but is actually a classification of extremely poisonous plants. Every part of the Jimson Weed is toxic if ingested or smoked, and Jimson Weed has been used as a hallucinogen in the past. It’s true that, in very small doses, Jimson Weed will do nothing more than get you high. The problem is, nobody knows exactly what that dose is, because it seems to be different for everybody. Just to be safe, don’t try smoking Jimson Weed at all, because an overdose will make you delirious. Your body temperature will skyrocket, you’re pupils will be constantly dilated, light will cause extreme pain, and eventually your heart will explode and you’ll die in a delirious rage.

    Lily of the Valley

    Convallaria Majalis

    lily-of-the-valleyLily of the Valley is a cute, welcoming little plant with tiny adorable flowers and little red berries. It’s like the Ellen Page of plants, and if you touch any part of it you will die. The Lily of the Valley contains about 38 different toxins which, if ingested in even the smallest amount, can cause your heart to beat so fast that it explodes. If you get some of that on your hands, then wipe some sweat off of your forehead, and then some more sweat carries the Lily chemicals into your mouth, your heart explodes and you die. Scientists have found uses for cardiac glycoside toxins in cases of cardiac failure, when someone’s heart has stopped and it desperately needs a jump start. But if your heart is already working when you accidentally get that jump start, you’re dead meat.

    San Pedro Cactus

    Echinopsis Pachanoi

    san pedro cactusThe San Pedro Cactus is a tall, narrow cactus that grows in Central and South America. Externally, the cactus is about as dangerous as any other cactus (which is to say, extremely dangerous), but the inside is where the real magic happens, because a San Pedro Cactus is filled with Mescaline! Mescaline is one of the most potent psychotropic drugs the world has ever known, meaning that it will make you trip your balls off. Natives have been taking mescaline for 3000 years, so it can be taken safely in small doses, but there are a few other milder hallucinogens in the San Pedro Cactus as well. Sure, overdosing on mescaline may not kill you, but if you’re out in the desert where you might find a San Pedro Cactus, uncontrollably tripping your brains out for a few days probably won’t help your chances of survival.


    Nerium Oleander

    oleanderOleanders are a fairly common, widespread plant with narrow, waxy leaves and flimsy pink flowers. It’s also one of the most poisonous plants in the world, especially for young animals and small children. Every part of an Oleander bush contains a cocktail of extremely toxic chemicals, the most significant toxins being Neriine and Oleandrin, which is the plant’s namesake. The toxins are most concentrated in the bush’s sap, which looks exactly like Elmer’s Glue, which kids love to eat. Unfortunately, though, if a kid eats Oleander sap, they’ll experience severe nausea and vomiting, and then their heart will explode. Don’t let your kids play around Oleanders, no matter how many of them are planted around the playground at school.

    Pheasant’s Eye

    Adonis Aestivalis

    pheasants eyePheasant’s Eye is an adorable little yellow-flowered member of the Adonis genus. Its flowers are very inviting and they kind of resemble daisies, although the stem and leaves are completely different. Every part of the plant contains potent toxins that, if ingested, will quickly cause nausea and vomiting, diarrhea (which is just what you need when you’re trying to get someone to help you), loss of muscle control, and eventually cardiac arrest. Just to be safe, don’t ever touch anything outside, ever.


    Atropa Belladonna

    deadly_nightshadeBelladonna means “Beautiful Woman” in Italian, because women used to use this flower as makeup. Belladonna also goes by another name: Deadly Nightshade. Is it just me, or is it ridiculous that the same flower is called “Beautiful Woman” and “Deadly Nightshade”? Who made that decision? Are they just trying to get people to kill themselves? Aside from a history of really stupid naming, the Belladonna flower has a long history of murder. It’s been used since Roman times as a reliable poison, because ingestion of even a single Belladonna leaf can kill a healthy adult. Once you’ve been poisoned, expect to experience dilated pupils, extreme sensitivity to light, loss of balance, confusion, accelerated heart beat, sweating, headache, rash, flushing, dry mouth, confusion, urinary retention, constipation, delirium, hallucinations, convulsions, paralysis, and the complete loss of your ability to breathe. And if, by some miracle, you manage to survive, there’s a good chance that you’ll be mentally disabled for the rest of your life. Keep rubbing those flowers on your faces, ancient pretty girls.

    Poison Ivy

    Toxicodendron Radicans

    poison ivyPoison Ivy is one of the most well-known poisonous plants on Earth, but did you know that it can grow in three different forms? Poison Ivy can be a trailing vine on the ground, a small bush, or a clinging vine that climbs up the side of a wall or tree. There are many other plants that look like Poison Ivy, but Poison Ivy leaves always grow in clusters of three, and the vine form of Poison Ivy is covered in tiny red hairs, so if you see three leaves or a hairy vine,get the hell out of there. Skin contact with Poison Ivy will result in a severe rash, welts, blisters, and itching that will last weeks. Poison Ivy will cause a rash anywhere on your body; skin contact will result in a skin rash, eating Poison Ivy will cause the rash on the inside of your mouth and throughout your digestive tract, and smoking Poison Ivy will give you a Poison Ivy rash in your lungs. Sucks for the stoner who had to do that experiment.

    Strychnine Tree

    Strychnos Nux-Vomica

    strychnine treeThe Strychnine Tree grows mostly in India and Southeast Asia, so unless you’re planning for an extremely exotic vacation destination, you’re probably safe from this bad boy. However, there are several other species of Strychnine plant throughout the world, and they all contain extremely toxic poisons, including the most notable Strychnine, for which the tree was named. Strychnine is an incredibly potent and fast-acting poison when ingested. The poisonous strychnine alkaloids are found in abundance in the seeds inside the tree’s delicious-looking fruit, but every other part of the tree is also poisonous. Other species of Strychnos plants are used to make the poison that goes on poison darts and spears of South American Indian Tribes, and the poison is so potent that it will kill a small mammal after only a few seconds of exposure to the blood. Bottom line: if the tree itself is named after the poison that it contains, then that must be some really great poison.


    Rhododendron Ponticum

    rhododendronRhododendron’s are large, pink, incredibly messy bushes. Those of you who have rhododendrons in your yard absolutely hate them because they get little pink flower petals EVERYWHERE.  All varieties of the Rhododendron genus will prove toxic if ingested, especially by animals. Horses, in particular, have been known to die only a few hours after eating Rhododendron. But it’s easy to avoid Rhododendron poison: you just don’t eat Rhododendrons, right? Wrong. The poison in a Rhododendron lives in the plant’s pollen and nectar, and while you may not have a use for pollen and nectar, the bees that make the honey you eat rely heavily on pollen and nectar all the time. To the bees, Rhododendron flowers are just another source of food, but if you eat honey that’s made by bees feeding on Rhododendron plants, you’ll suffer from nausea, diarrhea, dehydration, and hallucinations. That’s what you get for eating insect vomit, honey-lovers!


    1. correction – bittersweet not deadly

    2. 1) That does not look like Atropa belladona to me in the “Deadly nightshade” photo rather a Solanum sp., perhaps. Atropa and Solanum genera are part of the Solanaceae family which makes them related but unique phytochemically! Solanums are known to contain ‘solanine’ which makes them especially dangerous. Datura, potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, and tobacco are also part of this family, by the way. Yes, potatoes have toxic potential when young and green.

      2) Where are Digitalis/Foxgloves and Ricinus/Castor plant? They are both well known for their danger. Unlike solanaceae’s, these two have a comparably non-threatening appearance which makes them easy targets.

      3) San Pedro should not even be listed here. One could willingly attempt to consume the fresh cacti and most likely give up before feeling any psychoactive effects. The closest would be a stomach ache!

      4) Please be more careful with the information you share online. You seem to be attempting a dangerous topic that you poorly understand.

    3. Shltstain says:

      I’ve yet to hear of anyone dying after eating San Pedro Cactus in its 5,000 year history of being consumed. Come on man.

    4. donaLd says:

      While reading this article, I think the knowledge about flowers and plants are growing… I also saw the pictures with respect, nice pictures taken!

      I have not the ability shoot photos like that…

      • Yeah, the plant pictured is bittersweet nightshade, not bittersweet nightshade, many of the same alkaloids, but less potent, I have consumed both. I have also consumed, and hallucinated from, Jimson weed. Cases of death from overdose are EXTREMELY RARE. If you consume a bunch of an unfamiliar plant w/o trying it in small amounts to see 1st how it affects you, don’t be surprised if the universe decides to remove you from the gene pool. If you try only a small amount, you’ll probably get weirdly high and most folks I’ve given it to don’t want to take more than that in order to hallucinate. Main reason being, in order to get there, you’ll have to tolerate a couple hours of SEVERE thirst. Like, you can drink water until you feel seriously bloated and still have dry mouth, this is the main deterrent for me, and why it’s not exactly a D.O.C. But, if you get past that, there’s some fun parts, you can watch plants, rust, wood grain, and all types of organic patterns breathe/grow as if in time-lapse photography right before your eyes – NEAT! This is the time of year(late summer/early fall) that you commonly come across it, so if you decide to satisfy your curiosity, remember: try a little bit 1st and wait and see how it affects you, pace yourself, and, depending on how much you take, you might wanna have like 3 days off work so it can COMPLETELY wear off(also cause some weird dreams.) If you enjoy Jimson weed, and I do mean if, it’s not for everybody, you might also want to learn more about belladonna and, believe it or not, nutmeg.

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