Deadliest Plants to Keep Away From
Though magnetic and appealing, the plant world can be a terribly dangerous place to explore. A number of beautiful plants are known to be cold-blooded killers. Their poison has been responsible for countless human deaths. Find out more about the trickiest plants that one should stay away from no matter what.
Atropa belladonna, or deadly nightshade
The deadly nightshade is an infamous plant containing tropane alkaloids that target the nervous system and paralyze the involuntary muscles. Belladonna is said to have been used by King Macbeth of Scotland to get rid of unwelcome troops of the invading King of England.
Aconitum laeve, or wolf’s bane
This lovely plant with handsomely-shaped violet flowers is a source of aconitine – a substance that damages sodium channels in mammalian neurons. During WWII, the Nazis used aconitum to coat their bullets.
Conium maculatum, or poison hemlock
This wicked beauty is the one that famously killed Socrates who was sentenced to death and had to empty a poison chalice. When ingested, the poison hemlock causes paralysis of muscles, including respiratory muscles, which leads to death from oxygen deprivation.
Ageratina altissima, or white snakeroot
The white snakeroot, a seemingly innocuous plant, was the one that killed Nancy Hanks, Abraham Lincoln’s mother. The poor woman did nothing more than drank milk from the cow that had ingested the plant. The symptoms she suffered include nausea, reddened tongue, and abnormal blood acidity, which can eventually be lethal.
Ricinus communis, or castor bean
It takes only eight seeds of this eye-catching plant to kill an adult who will first experience severe vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. The castor bean was used to make a poison that was sent to a number of U.S. politicians in unsuccessful terrorism attempts.
To sum it up, don’t touch or eat even the most good-looking flower, tree, bush, or grass you come across — make sure you identify a plant first — for it not to be the last thing you ever see.