Pictures of Poisonous Plants
Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) is a very common weed and especially dangerous to have around kids, as they're attracted to its brightly colored berries. Yet relatively few parents would be able to identify bittersweet nightshade on their property.
Chinese lantern plant (Physalis alkekengi), commonly grown by crafts enthusiasts. The initial color of the pods' husks is green. This color changes to yellow late in the summer. By fall, it is a rich orange. The colorful pods can be used in dried floral arrangements, wreathes, etc.
The entries listed so far are all toxic if eaten. But in the case of some other plants, all you have to do is touch them to be exposed to their toxicity, and the result will be a rash. Poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) and poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) are examples. The former gives all sumac shrubs a bad name, despite the fact that most are quite harmless and beautiful in fall.
"Easter" lilies (Lilium longiflorum) is a misnomer for these toxic trumpets. You can thank the workers at a greenhouse somewhere for your being able to inhale their heady perfume at Easter in cold climates. The workers had to take great pains to trick them into blooming at what is, truth be told, really out of season for them.
Thus many Easter lily recipients in the North who decide to take a crack at growing them outside are disappointed when next spring rolls around and they don't bloom. The fact is, you cannot expect Easter lilies to bloom outdoors for you much earlier than when most of the other popular lilies flower (July), such as Lilium Stargazer.
If only this were our greatest concern in growing Easter lilies, though. More problematic is that they are deadly toxic to cats, as are Stargazer lilies.
Some plants have an indication that they are poisonous right in their names: "bane." Whenever you see that word in a plant name, it's a dead giveaway that the plant is toxic. Here are some examples:
- Wolfsbane, also called "monkshood" (Aconitum)
- Leopard's bane (Doronicum orientale)
- Fleabane (Erigeron)
- Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)
Then there's baneberry (Actaea), which comes in both a red and a white form. If its toxicity isn't enough to scare you, stare into the "doll's eyes" of the white form. They are quite spooky.
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