Saturday, February 18, 2012

Deceiving Plants

Vegetation helps sustain life. We eat many plants, herbs and so forth in our daily diet. But, we must remember to be choosy. Some plants, trees or shrubs are potential killers of man. Some part of the ornamental plants or flowers in your garden may contain deadly poison. Many poisonous plants are so common and seemingly innocuous you do not suspect their toxic qualities. For example, who would expect that the beautiful oleander bush-grown indoors and outdoors all over the country contains a deadly heart stimulant, similar to the drug digitalis? It is easy to be deceived by plants…One part may be edible while another is poisonous. The following chart lists some of the more common poisonous plants.

10. Best home security – Mala mujer (Cnidoscolus angustidens)

This garden plant is more painful than poisonous. Mala mujer, which translates to “bad woman,” can be found in parts of the southwest Mexico and it’s covered with nasty thorns, which could be turned into makeshift barbwire if needed. The real danger, however, comes from the caustic, milky sap that can leak from the plant. The sap, a common feature among many plants in the Euphorbia genus, can cause painful skin irritations and unsightly discoloration.
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9. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)

A common shade-loving household plant, Dumb Cane is a tropical plant that is among the most poisonous plants in the world. Chewing on any part of this leafy plant causes intense pain in the mouth and throat, excessive salivation, and in rare cases, severe swelling of the throat that can lead to strangulation.
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8. Golden Chain (Laburnum Anagyroides)

Golden Chain (Laburnum Anagyroides) is a majestic tree, with cascades of sunny yellow flowers. It has a long-held reputation as poison in English lore, particularly since its seeds look very similar to peas. They contain both Lupinine and dangerous enzyme inhibitors, and as few as 20 laburnum beans can kill a child.
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7. English Yew (Taxus Baccata)

One of the most deadly trees in the world, these evergreens are common in the forests of Europe. With the exception of the berries, all of the tree is toxic, and the English Yew was once used by early herbalists to induce abortions. Sadly, the result was often fatal to both mother and child. Consumption of the English Yew in even tiny amounts causes cardiac issues that result in death. It is quick-acting and there is no antidote.
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6. Water Hemlock (Cicuta)

This plant is highly dangerous to ingest.It is called the most “violently toxic plant that grows in North America” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and by ingesting only a small amount of the toxic substance of this plant poisoning in humans and pets can be produced. Water Hemlock has small, white flowers that grow in form umbrella-like clusters and the plant grows in wet seepage areas. Its poison works directly on the central nervous system and cause violent convulsions, seizures and even death.
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5. Yellow Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

Yellow jessamine – this perennial evergreen twines in vines that can grow up to 40 feet long, depending on their support system. It blooms in early spring. The allure of the sweetly perfumed, brilliantly colored flowers of Yellow Jessamine masks the fact that it contains a deadly poison whose fatal effects have been compared to the Hemlock’s. A person or animal that eats any part of it can pass from paralysis to death without intervening loss of consciousness. Even bees that pollinate Yellow Jessamine are occasionally poisoned by it.
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4. Deadly Nightshade (Atropa Belladonna)

For many, the star of the poisonous plants. Most people have heard of Deadly Nightshade even if they have never seen it. The combination of its ability to kill with its use to beautify by dilating the pupils gives it a romantic attraction which is hard to beat. Add to that the hallucinations it may also cause and its fascination is complete. Its name, Belladonna, comes from its use by Venetian women to make themselves ‘beautiful ladies’ by causing their pupils to dilate.
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3. Doll’s eyes (Actaea pachypoda)

It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50cm or more tall. The white flowers are produced in spring in a dense raceme about 10cm long. Its most striking feature is its fruit, a 1cm diameter white berry, whose size, shape, and black stigma scar give the species its other common name, “Doll’s Eyes”. The berries ripen over the summer turn into a fruit that persists on the plant until frost. Fall foliage color may be yellowish, and is fairly unremarkable. The berries are highly poisonous, and the entire plant is considered poisonous to humans. The berries contain cardiogenic toxins which can have an immediate sedative effect on human cardiac muscle tissue, and are the most poisonous part of the plant. Ingestion of the berries can lead to cardiac arrest and death. The berries are harmless to birds, the plant’s primary seed dispersers.
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2. Manchineel (Hippomane Mancinella)

This tree of the genus Hippomane, of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) is famous for its poisonous fruits. The manchineel is native mostly to sandy beaches of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Its attractive, single or paired yellow-to-reddish, sweet-scented, applelike fruits have poisoned Spanish conquistadores, shipwrecked sailors, and present-day tourists. The manchineel is a handsome, round-crowned tree that grows up to 12m (40 feet) in height with a 60cm (2 foot) thick trunk. It has long-stalked, lustrous, leathery, elliptic yellow-green leaves. The manchineel is so poisonous that smoke from its burning wood irritates the eyes, and latex from its leaves and bark causes skin inflammation. Caribbean Indians used the sap to poison their arrows. The fruit contains a hard stone that encloses six to nine seeds. The tree’s wood takes a good polish and is used for making furniture.
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1. Oleander (Nerium Oleander)

It may look like an attractive flowering shrub, but don’t be fooled! Oleander is one of the most poisonous of all commonly grown garden plants, and though it’s especially toxic to children it is often planted in school yards. It is a hearty bush and grows on many different continents, and with beautiful, fragrant blossoms, it is tempting to include it in any garden… Just don’t even think about touching it or tasting the leaves or stems. A small child can experience symptoms after handling just one leaf from the plant, though typically it takes more contact for severe reactions to take place. Upon consumption, the poison causes intestinal issues like vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), excess salivation, and cramping. It can also cause a accelerated, irregular heart rate, poor circulation, tremors, seizures, coma, and death.
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