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10 Common Plants You Didn’t Know Were Toxic

Evan Ritter . . . Comments

Throughout time, plants have provided us with many things: Food, shelter, warmth, fuel, medicine, clothes, textile, entertainment and a love of nature. With many of the species of plants around today, toxicity is an important aspect that must be addressed – especially when the toxicity involves a plant you are already quite familiar with. I am proud to present to you a list addressing some common plants that also have a hint or two of toxicity. A list of the 10 Common Plants You Didn’t Know Were Toxic.


Euphorbia pulcherrima

Poinsettia3 1

Toxic Principle: Diterpene esters in latex

To start off, we have perhaps one of the most well-known ornamental plants, the poinsettia. Euphorbia pulcherrima is a plant native to the tropical, deciduous forests of Mexico, but has long been used as a symbol of Christmas. As you might have guessed, this is due to its distinctive red and green leaf combinations, although poinsettias can be cultivated to have a wide range of colors, from blue to pink.

It is a wide misconception that poinsettias are incredibly poisonous. This is not true. This, presumably, comes from the fact that most other plants in the Euphorbia genus are highly toxic. While ingestion can cause vomiting and diarrhea, exposure can cause temporary skin eczema AND contact with the eyes can cause temporary blindness, this is not always the case. POISINDEX, a major resource for poison control centers, says that it would take 500 brachts of the plant to cause poison to a 50 pound (22.68kg) child. Thus, our first entry on the list.


English Ivy
Hedera helix


Toxic Principles: Triterpenoid saponins and polyacetylene compounds

English Ivy is an extremely common plant, and is labeled as an invasive species in the United States. Its sale and distribution is even prohibited in the state of Oregon. This is due to its ability to create “ivy deserts” across landscapes. Hedera helix is even known to climb to the top of trees, causing them to topple. Though hard to control, it is often used by gardeners as an edge plant, or in the home as an intriguing house plant.

Young children are often victim to this plant’s poison, most likely due to its curious demeanor. Ingestion can cause delirium, stupor, convulsions, hallucinations and fever, and contact with its leaves can cause skin irritation, itching, rash and blisters. Kind of makes you wonder why it isn’t illegal where you are, doesn’t it?


Easter Lily
Lilium longiflorum


Toxic Principle: Lycorine alkaloids

Easter lilies are a very common species in the Liliaceae family. Although native to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan and Taiwan, this lily is found in gardens all across the globe. Growing up to one meter (3.28 ft) in height, and bearing a number of trumpet shaped, white, fragrant and outward facing flowers, it is a keepsake to the art of gardening.

Easter lilies, although beautiful, are also poisonous, especially to cats, at an extreme level. It is also poisonous to humans due to the alkaloid Lycorine, found in the bulbs and stems. Symptoms of poisoning due to ingestion of Easter lily (likewise for almost all other true lilies) include abdominal pain, salivation, shivering, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Wouldn’t we all love a bit of that around Easter time?


Delphinium spp.


Toxic Principles: Alkaloids delphinine, ajacine and others

Larkspur is a member of the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, and is native to North America. It usually grows at higher elevations, and is often found on mountains. From 10 centimeters (3.93″), and in some alpine species, up to two meters (6.56 ft) tall, this plant is topped with a raceme of many flowers, varying in color from purple and blue, to red, yellow or white. Almost all species are toxic. Despite its toxicity, Delphinium species are used as food plants by the larvae of some moth species.

All parts of the Larkspur are poisonous. Due to their height, cattle are frequently poisoned by ingesting them. Many ranchers will delay moving cattle onto such ranges until late summer, when toxicity rates are the lowest. Symptoms of poisoning include burning of the lips and mouth, numbness of throat, intense vomiting and diarrhea, muscular weakness and spasms, weak pules, paralysis of the respiratory system and convulsions, which usually leads to death. Although it is a genuinely attractive plant to look at, it is best left alone.


Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Toxic Principles: Aloin and anthraquinone-glycoside

Aloe Vera is a succulent plant, recognized for its long, spiny, flower spikes, and yellow flowers, in terminal, elongated clusters. It has been used for thousands of years to treat burns. In addition, it has also been used to treat heartburn, diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome. It is also common practice for cosmetic companies to add sap or other derivatives from aloe vera to products such as makeup, tissues, moisturizers, soaps, sunscreens, incense, shaving cream and shampoos. It is not widely known, however, that it is, in fact, poisonous. The gel, which is NOT poisonous, inside the leaves, is covered in a thin layer of Aloin and Anthraquinone c-glycoside, which are very toxic. If eaten in large enough quantities, it is known to cause abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and red urine, though not due to blood. Breaking a piece off to sooth irritated skin is generally considered safe, with the exception of those sensitive to latex.


Rhododendron spp.

Bright Azalea2

Toxic Principle: Andromedotoxin

Azaleas are a very common plant, found in gardens all over the world. Its evergreen leaves and brilliant flowers make it an exceptionally attractive plant for many gardeners. Its flowers are white to deep pink, red, yellow, purple, blue and orange.

Despite its popularity, an underwhelming common knowledge of its toxicity exists. All parts of the Rhododendron are highly toxic, and may be fatal if eaten. Symptoms from ingestion include over-salivation, watering of eyes and nose, abdominal pain, loss of energy, depression, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficulty breathing, progressive paralysis of arms and legs and coma, usually leading to death. How beautiful and attractive!


Dumb Cane


Toxic Principles: Calcium oxalate crystals called raphides, oxalic acid

Dumb cane makes it to number four on our list due to its overwhelming popularity. Dieffenbachia is an extremely common house plant, and you’ve probably been to many homes where it resides. You might even have it in your house and not even know about its toxicity. Dieffenbachia contains oxalic acid, a sour acid which is also found in the tasty shamrock (oxalis). It also contains tiny needle shaped crystals called calcium oxalate. If a leaf is chewed, these crystals cause an extreme burning sensation in the mouth, throat and tongue. It is also known to cause temporary vocal cord paralysis, hence the name, ‘dumb cane’. While ingestion is not always fatal, victims describe it as excruciatingly painful and debilitating. In addition, other symptoms include excessive drooling, localized swelling, and difficulty in speaking and swallowing. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea is also reported to occur. Think about that the next time you pass by this seemingly innocent-looking house plant!


Nerium oleander


Toxic Principles: Cardiac glycosides: nerioside and oleandroside; saponins, and other unknown agents

Oleander is a small, yet eye-catching plant, and its flowers are known to come in a wide assortment of colors. One aspect (perhaps already well-known) of the plant is its high level of toxicity. A single leaf consumed by an infant or child is often fatal. It is even known to hold its toxicity after drying. The symptoms experienced from the ingestion of this plant are horrific and terrifying, placing it third on our list. These include nausea, stomach pain, dizziness, drowsiness, poor circulation to extremities, seizures, tremors, collapse, slowed pulse, irregular heartbeat, pupil dilation, bloody diarrhea, coma, death and suicidal depression. Yes… you read that correctly. In Southern India, there are innumerable reported cases of suicide after consuming mashed oleander seeds. Think about that the next time you decide to throw a bit of oleander in your dumpling recipe!


Digitalis purpurea


Toxic Principles: Cardiac and steroid glycosides

Foxglove is a beautiful plant that is common in many colorful gardens. Its scientific name, digitalis, means “finger-life” and refers to the ease with which the flower can be fitted over a human fingertip. These flowers, produced along a tall spike, are known to come in colors such as blue, purple, pink, white and yellow. They also sometimes possess various markings and spots inside the flowers. Foxglove is number two on our list for its beautiful, yet sinister appearance, distribution, and unrivaled toxicity.

Initially praised for its medicinal effectiveness with treating heart conditions, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, many of its uses are now considered inappropriate, due to its wide variety of adverse reactions. The entire plant is toxic, though the leaves of the upper stem are particularly potent. Just a nibble has the potential of causing death. Early symptoms of ingestion include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, wild hallucinations, delirium and severe headache. Depending on the severity of toxicosis, a victim may later suffer irregular and slowed pulse, tremors, cerebral disturbances (especially of a visual nature, such as colors appearing yellowish to green, and blue halos around lights), convulsions and deadly disturbances of the heart. Sadly, death is often at the end of many experiments with foxglove.


Datura Stramonium

Datura Stramonium Plant

Toxic Principle: Tropane alkaloids: atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine

Finally, we have Datura Stramonium. This is a very common, and very attractive plant. It grows just about anywhere there is soil. It can sometimes lie dormant underground for years and suddenly germinate when the soil is disturbed. The plant is known for its trumpet-like flower, which is colored white to pink or purple, and its seed pod which is covered in many sharp thorns. A foul odor is secreted when any part of the plant is disturbed or broken. Draw your initial conclusions when you hear its many names – Devil’s trumpet, Devil’s weed, Devil’s cucumber, Hell’s Bells, locoweed, stinkweed, pricklyburr, thornapple, Jamestown weed, Jimson weed, tolguacha and Moonflower. It is a member of the deadly Nightshade family.

Datura was used as a mystical sacrament in North America by natives, and in South Asia, where Hindus believe Lord Shiva is often seen smoking Datura. It causes intense hallucinations and delirium. It’s unofficial name, Jamestown weed, comes from the town in Virginia, where British soldiers were drugged with it while attempting to suppress Bacon’s Rebellion. They spent eleven days appearing to have gone insane, as this suggests:

“The James-Town Weed (which resembles the Thorny Apple of Peru, and I take to be the plant so call’d) is supposed to be one of the greatest coolers in the world. This being an early plant, was gather’d very young for a boil’d salad, by some of the soldiers sent thither to quell the rebellion of Bacon (1676); and some of them ate plentifully of it, the effect of which was a very pleasant comedy, for they turned natural fools upon it for several days: one would blow up a feather in the air; another would dart straws at it with much fury; and another, stark naked, was sitting up in a corner like a monkey, grinning and making mows [grimaces] at them; a fourth would fondly kiss and paw his companions, and sneer in their faces with a countenance more antic than any in a Dutch droll.

In this frantic condition they were confined, lest they should, in their folly, destroy themselves – though it was observed that all their actions were full of innocence and good nature. Indeed, they were not very cleanly; for they would have wallowed in their own excrements, if they had not been prevented. A thousand such simple tricks they played, and after eleven days returned themselves again, not remembering anything that had passed.” – The History and Present State of Virginia, 1705

All parts of the Datura plant contains dangerous levels of poisonous alkaloids. It is often fatal when ingested by humans and animals, including livestock and pets. Datura intoxication typically produces a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy. Other symptoms reported include hyperthermia, tachycardia, bizarre and possibly violent behavior and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last for several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect. Because of the small window between dose and overdose, recreational use of datura stramonium is NOT advised. Overdose, more often than not, includes death.

  • Mr first


  • Hunter

    I didn’t know that plant was called a Dumb Cane. Made me feel dumb.

    • lol

      • Gabby

        Hey this is random but are you almost always on listverse? I see your comments on a lot of lists :)

        • Hunter

          Yeah I am. Where are you from?

          • Gabby

            Umm… How is that significant lol but California if you must know :S

          • nom nom

            he is commig for you gabby RUN!!!

        • I think Listverse has many regulars, Its easier to pick them up from their avatars as those are the first things you see, like mom’s cup ,Timothy blue spacey thingy, Chan’s gay kissing people, Julius’s Beer,Lifeschoo’sl illusion and Blues wild west man with the cape – those are the ones i can remember-

          • timmar68

            How about my tree?

          • I have poor memory, some i do not remember, I’m sorry :( . . . I like the colours thou :)

          • Hunter

            @Gabby: I’m not sure who you were talking to. I posted the comment and I do post comments from time to time (long time reader), but I’m not the guy who asked where you’re from.

          • @Hunter: Sucks that people can actually do that, the only way i could tell it wasn’t you was from your hovercard

          • I go on quite often too; I just don’t comment much. :)

          • KirbyTheAwesome

            @Zaeriuraschi Me too. (And btw you have the same avatar that i have on twitter)

    • canis

      I knew it was called that, and I feel dumber for not knowing why :o

  • jawjar


  • Datura Stramonium is not the same as moon flower, i have both , moon flower is a much prettier plant with big yellow ,white or pink flowers , and datura is medium sized weed with thorny seed pods ,(we call them mal pitte or seeds of madness in RSA) -i’ve seen people on both moon flowers and datura it is crazy, it doesn’t look fun . My bother took dautra in a teenage dare . I found him dressed in a suit with a like a picnic set for all these guests we couldn’t see, another time i found him but naked with the spare wooden stock for a shot gun looking for the Chinese people that were breaking into our yard (thank god he didnt get the real gun). this lasted for 4 days , it seemed to actually get much worse at night . When he started coming out of it i asked him to describe it to me (me being keenly interested in all things that fcuk you up) he said you basically see things that aren’t there . not like acid at all . it looked fucking scary and we were all scared he’s be brain DAMAGED . It really is madness -moon flower has similar effect but not so extreme ,also similar to acid in that it alters your perception instead of only down right hallucinations . Still neither are recreational and can kill you or really make you brain damaged .

    • You’re South African? Cause i was wondering why you didn’t comment yesterday. If you are, it would explain it all

      • yup i was nursing a crazy hang over yesterday , in front of the TV in the fetal position , sipping rum from a very long straw . . .

        • Aside from the hangover that sounds very appealing :)

      • Julius

        Why, what’s happening in SA?

        • Public holiday. Beer, Braai and all that Sakkie

        • Celebrating Human Rights Day

          • well, we where, yesterday

          • Julius

            Ah kk… Nothing beats Braai Day though XD

          • Best day ever :D

        • Auburn Tiger

          Yeah. I have no idea what’s going on either. In the US the media’s too busy talking about how many missiles we fired at Libya. Opening new tab…

          …and back. God dammit. Is it the cricket world cup? You scared me.

          • There is nothing wrong in SA, The cricket world cup is awsum, still on a high after the win Against India which was a while ago, Quarter final this weekend. SA vs NZ. Can’t wait.

          • yeah but the rugby world cup is also coming up . just sucks about the earth quake . Hey maybe NZealand will get a blockbuster made for them if they win .

          • thats not a horrible joke thats straight up what hollywood does .

          • I have no idea when the Rugby world cup starts but when it does I’ll be watching :)

      • Wow – you are very observant :)

        • On listverse waaaaaaay too much :D

    • curiouslittlerhino

      If I remember correctly, I believe jimson weed was described in Fear and loathing in las Vegas. Don’t rember if it was Duke or Gonzo who was on it though.

    • skeeter

      I took Datura (jimsonweed) when I was 17. Four heaping tablespoons of the seeds after the pods had dried and opened. Four days of not being able to read (the letters “ran” around and off the pages), eat, sleep. No differentiating reality from hallucination. By the third day I figured out that if it was clear, it wasn’t real. It basically feeds off your fears and plays them out for you. Everything seems real, and not ’til later do you realize just how insane you were. It’s a little dose of death. I do not recommend it to anyone. I still have some lingering issues 22 years later, and one of the others who took it, never came back. He’s still mad as a hatter. Just thought I’d share that with you.

      • I know a young man who took it in his teenaged years and he is still plagued by it – he has had a very troubled life as a consequence. He used it quite regularly for a while I think. Definitely something to avoid. Thanks for telling us your experience.

        • skeeter

          I can’t imagine using it more than once, let alone on a regular basis. Great site btw, usually the first I check out when I get up.

  • our jo

    Love the pics with this list! The church I married in was covered in English Ivy and it was beautiful! Of course that was back in England so it was (is) commonplace.
    Also, as a kid I used to play in rhododendron bushes.. altho now I wouldnt go near them, not cos of the poison but cos of all the damn spiders creeping about in there lol :)
    And Poinsettias… omg I was taught if we even *looked* at them for too long we would die an agonising and hideous death haha!!
    Thanks for this list, even tho its a bit sinister it did bring back a few memories of home (and an apparently danger-filled childhood) to me.

    • How funny that you were taught about the poison of poinsettias! They are all over the place here at Christmas (because it is summer then) and as far as I know no one here knows (as a general rule) that they are toxic.

  • Julius

    Dr. Hibbert: Another broccoli-related death.
    Marge: But I thought broccoli was—
    Dr. Hibbert: Oh yes. One of the deadliest plants on Earth. Why, it tries to warn you itself with its terrible taste.


    Knew about a lot of these as I used to work at a florist a while back…Cool list!

    • broccoli is great with mac and cheese , oh btw,I would have never guessed that you had once worked as a florist

      • Broccoli has to be crunchy or it’s terrible, like boiled less than 5 minutes…

        Yeah, I mainly did the sales and watered the plants, but as it turned out I suck at sales/ don’t really care enough for flowers to give a damn so I quit ;-)

        • For a second there, i though you had a pink side, i guess i was wrong :(

          • He does – the inside. If you turn a person inside-out you see lots of pink – and red. :)

          • @JFrater: my thoughts just off ramped. I was thinking flowers now i have the image of a cut up dead body as valentines decor

          • fendabenda

            Ah ha, Jamie! You have read the “Books of Blood” by Clive Barker! Quote: “Every body is a book of blood. Wherever we are opened, we are red.” :)

            And also, the dead have highways.

  • Interesting…hmmm..We grow poinsettia, azalea’s and easter lily in our garden, never knew they were toxic. Btw, Datura is one of the well known poisonous plants how come its number 1?

    • Because the list is about toxic plants we DIDN’T know

  • number 5, niceee…

    and u missed out frangipani?

    • Wow – I didn’t know frangipani was poisonous! I love the smell of its flowers. I nearly bought one recently. As for its absence on the list – it may be because it is closely related to oleander.

  • oouchan

    I’ve never liked the poinsettia….always thought it was an ugly looking plant. I used to have oleander in my yard until my yard guy killed it. No big loss there.

    Interesting list.

    • Auburn Tiger

      Me neither. They usually look like a fake plant to me. Our yard used to be full of azaleas, but we had them pulled up for construction/new plants. I miss them.

    • canis

      Off topic in regards to the poison factor, but my landlord pulled out my feverfew plants from the garden I kept in the back yard…either he knew what they were and wanted them for himself, or he thought they were weeds. This was quite a long time ago..

  • br0ck

    i am bi-winning bit.ches

  • Cami

    My mom tells me that when I was a toddler at Christmas she was carrying me across a room when I reached out, grabbed a fistful of Poinsettia and shoved it in my mouth. I guess I’m lucky it’s not more poisonous.

  • Elemarth

    I guess the lesson is not to put plants you don’t know much about in your mouth!
    There are azaleas all around my town, but I have to say that none of them are yellow, orange, or blue. There are white and light pink ones, though.

  • Auburn Tiger

    It seems like lists with titles like this one are garnering fewer and fewer comments in the vein of “You should have named it something else because I already knew 9 of these!” I like that.

  • mom424

    I actually knew all these but then I’m a gardener. Pretty cool list just the same. I personally wouldn’t have included Poinsetta; it’s not really poisonous – it’d be damn near impossible to ingest enough to cause any harm whatsoever. Pretty sure all lily bulbs are poisonous and I’m not about to sample the zillion or so varieties just to check. :)

    Where we live Datura is called Gabriel’s Trumpet – it makes a lovely hedge as well as a stand alone plant.

    What I would have included is the Giant Hogweed. It is giant, up to 15′ high, and looks like an overgrown Queen Anne’s Lace. Not only is the plant invasive, it is also highly toxic. The plant itself causes contact dermatitis, the whole thing is poisonous to eat and don’t dare breathe the fumes if you burn it. Burning it, by the way is the only way to sure-fire kill it; the seeds can lay dormant for years.

    • Yes, the majority of lilies and any lily-related plant have some toxicity of varying degrees. Lily-of-the-valley, that beautiful flower (which just so happens to be my birthflower) is highly toxic – you have to know how to handle it so that the toxins aren’t absorbed into your skin. All parts of the Lily-of-the-valley are poisonous. Despite the fact lilies are toxic flowers, they’re symbols of humility, purity (or virginity), and innocence (and if you want to refresh your room, just get a big bouquet – it’s wonderful!).

      Datura grows WILD everywhere it can here in Orange County (Southern California). We call them ‘Moon Flowers’ here because beneath the moonlight, they have the prettiest silver-white color that glows when the moon is full and emit this heavenly perfume – but everyone knows, except the cattle, to leave that stuff alone.

      • canis

        I once picked about a dozen blooms of those, and as small as they are, they filled the room with their sweet smell! Small but powerful ;)

        • Me too, but only with some beautiful wild mountain lilies that looked like little golden bells. :-) It was so wonderful. Unfortunately, Lily-of-the-valley are hard to find here and I would essentially have to purchase the seeds and grow them (I don’t mind, I love flowers, but those lilies are invasive and will take over a garden at the slightest beckoning! :-o Lol).

    • Maggot

      Lol mom at that pic you linked – at first glance, it appears the guy is “watering” the yard…

  • bailunrui

    “Foxglove is number one on our list for its beautiful, yet sinister appearance, distribution, and unrivaled toxicity.”

    Except it’s number two…

    • Evan Ritter

      Whoops, seems you’ve found a typo, thanks for catching it. This is my very first list, and Foxglove was number one. I changed it to number two because I thought more people would be familiar with the Datura. Thanks for reading though, haha.

  • Samantha

    I believe that tomatoes were considered toxic in the 18th century since (I was told – have not checked the veracity, perhaps someone here knows) it is a variety of the deadly nightshade family.

    Read a great short story about “The Assassination of George Washington” where basically, someone thought he was killing off our first president because he sent him a tomato plant.

    Please confirm or deny if you know – I’m running on 30-something year old memories here!

    • Roger

      I believe it was the acid in the tomato leeched lead from pewter plates that caused people to think it was the tomato itself–and not the lead–that was the problem.

    • Green tomato and the stems contain toxins – red tomatoes are harmless and the comment below this explains the situation with lead plates. Even though the foliage is poisonous it can be used in a bouquet garni to add a stronger tomato flavor because the poison is very mild.

      • we have a wild tomato that grows int he bush here , quiet common but very very poisonous . Not fit to eat at all .

  • Miss_J_Bean

    Good List, thank you :)

  • Lifeschool

    Thanks for the list, such beautiful photos too (except #3, which didn’t load). My mom used to be a florist, so I knew three of four of these. Arn’t potato leaves and rhubarb leave poisonous? Also, I have a dumb cane but I didn’t know what it was until right now. It’s on it’s last legs after moving to a flat with hardly any direct sun. It’s either baking hot in here or dark and cold. Not much of a plants person myself anymore. Looking around I can see a Peace Lilly, a couple of spider plants, a large fern and some other spikey tropical thing. Oh, and a salvia divinorum with like two little leaves clinging on to the top of it. I did have an Aloe plant at one time, but they grow big and quickly – and it kinda took over the window.

    • Lifeschool

      ok, picture #3 is working fine now.

    • Potato and rhubarb leaves are indeed toxic. I think potato is from the nightshade family.

      • canis

        So is tomato, actually! And the leaves of the tomato plant keep spiders away.

  • Lala

    Foxglove says it is number one on our list and it’s number two.

    • Not any more :)

      • Lifeschool


      • Evan Ritter

        Haha, thanks for the correction Jamie. It was number one, but I changed it to two, and must have forgotten to correct that.

  • Jesus

    Great list! I know some people who made a tea with “Hells Bells” and took it to school and drank it there! From what I heard they all would laugh stupidly and I saw one in my class in Physical Education on the floor…he was like with no energy! Idk y they did that! But its true!

  • Nikita

    When I was in highschool we used to make tea out of Datura….
    worst trip of my life.
    When I learned more about it I never touched that shit again.

  • S.Wendell

    I knew about all of those – I didn’t remember the name of two of them, but I remembered the plant and that it was poisonous.

    Funny thing with poinsettia’s. though – my mom bought six the other year, two pink, two white, and two red. Her six cats devoured the pink ones, mostly devoured the white ones, and only chewed the leaves off of the red ones.

  • deeeziner

    I had a friend who ran a yard service. He had to appear in court over the loss of a client’s pet who ate oleander clippings before my friend had hauled the cuttings from the property. Cost him a pretty penny, even though he had warned the client to keep the kids and pets indoors while he worked.

    I knew most of these from when we had pets who liked to chew plants, but it has been awhile so it was nice to get a refresher course.

    • Wow – that seems incredibly unjust to me (the court case I mean).

  • Jack

    I’ve almost always known that foxglove is poisonous. I also knew about Poinsettias and Aloe Vera.

  • swapie

    Toxic Plants… nature’s revenge are sweet! Sorry, I am high on Jamestown weed!

  • ParusMajor

    I once had a carnivorous plant as a pet. My stupid girlfriend killed it by feeding tuna to it. It was supposed to eat flies only.

  • sippigrrrl

    Interesting…I live in the southern United States, and I have six of these growing in my yard. I guess I shouldn’t automatically plant every flower that is given to me!

  • Canis

    Oxalic acid is the stuff in Bar Keeper’s Friend cleansing powder, hah!

  • dotmatrix

    What about the castor bean plant?

  • Crazy, I really DIDN’T know any of these could be poisonous.

  • Jeditrix

    hi all. long timereader first time commentor. great read. iI thought sure marjuana would be on this list. OH wait weed is chronic not toxic haha. JF and reader of comments iI got a question. i read a list a while ago about celebs who could kick your/mine arses. do u guys remember what the list is called. ive spent a long time with no luck. any help would be great. peace yall!

    • Lifeschool

      Search for Chuck Norris, maybe.

  • Amandroid

    Very interesting list!

  • WafflesWafers

    I remember the time when I learned about poisonous plants when I was young. We had this practical test to see what the names of the plants were,and there was the dumb cane. Although our teacher said don’t go too near it,some of my fellow classmates touched it and freaked some students out. Heh,good times. Remembered that when I saw this list :D

  • ALWill

    I have a world foods store in my town that sells a drink made with aloe. It even has little pieces of the plant in it. I love the stuff and have drunk many of them with no ill side effects. How can that be if the plant is poisonous? Or did I just misread something?

    • Evan Ritter

      This drink is made without the toxic parts of the plant.

  • Gad dyam, my garden is surrounded with toxic..!! :D

  • I love this post.. I can’t believe Aloe Vera is toxic.. I never would have thought that, I always think of it as a great healer.. I’m so glad I read this :)

  • circlefan

    we have these in our garden!!!
    my mom would panic if she knows she’s housing dangerous plants…hahahaha

    • coco bird

      It’s fine if u don’t eat them :)

  • Whoa really?!?!? I didn’t know that about the poinsettas (how ever you spell it)

    *~Check out my website at and please comment~*

  • coco bird

    Poinsettia,Oleander and aloe vera all these plants we have in our garden and i never knew they were toxic to extent .

  • Nice info..

  • Kaizykat

    Wonderful, now I’m going to be paranoid about the Azalea bushes in my front yard. Although, I’ve handled them even as a young girl with no problem, and even though I didn’t eat any part of it, I have picked the leaves and flowers.

  • Convallaria Studios

    I was mildly surprised that lily-of-the-valley (convallaria majalis) was not on here. I liked the list :)

  • lo

    poinsettia is barely toxic -500 bracts (those red parts are not petals) is about 10 whole plants of the size commonly sold as potted seasonal plants. and that’s the amount it takes to make you ill if you only weigh 50 pounds or less. and even at that dose it’s not lethal, it merely sickens. NO kid or adult is going to spend an hour straight eating cups and cups and cups of those bracts and leaves! if you eat 20lbs of well chewed apple seeds you’d also be in trouble, but guess what? literally no one does!

    the real misconception is that poinsettia ever belongs on this kind of list…..

    also, oleander is NOT a “small plant” it’s a shrub taller than most people. unless constantly pruned and trimmed it grows 6-20ft high.

    and doesn’t everybody know that the datura and brugmansia families are toxic? at least the fairly ugly variety known as jimson weed is famous for causing “madness” and often death. so, like poinsettia, it doesn’t even belong on this list……

    • Evan Ritter

      First of all, I never said Oleander was a short plant, I said it was a small plant. The flowers, leaves, and stems are all small. Secondly, as I mentioned in the Poinsettia entry, it’s not on the list due its level of toxicity. It’s on the list due to it’s popularity and widely unknown knowledge of it’s toxicity. I also wrote that members of the Euphorbia genus other than poinsettia are significantly more toxic. Perhaps you should read it a bit more instead of skimming through the list.

      Also, no, not everybody knew that datura was toxic. Did you not read the comments? This list is about common plants that are toxic, which a lot of people did NOT know about. Please, before you criticize, read the whole list.

      • lo

        i read your whole list and every comment, you just sound like you’re getting defensive and backpedalling.

        seriously if say “x is a small plant” 99% of the people are going to imagine a herbaceous (non-woody) plant that grows less than a few feet tall/under a meter. for example most willows have “small” leaves and flowers, locusts and mimosas certainly do, but no one would say they are a “small plant” as they are all woody stemmed shrubby trees or trees.

        and so far out of 107 comments you have 11 that mention that datura is known and/or named for causing madness/bad trips/symptoms of poisoning. at least 3 of those other than me mention that “everyone knows” or “everyone knows around here”.

        and you have exactly zero comments saying “i never knew datura was toxic!” (but do have a few that show the person now mistakenly does believe that poinsettias are dangerous), therefore it is a poor fit for #1 as this list is described by you as “a list addressing some common plants that also have a hint or two of toxicity. A list of the 10 Common Plants You Didn’t Know Were Toxic.” so if it’s both very toxic and well known for it it should not make the list, let alone be number one.

        as someone else mentioned, a better choice for number one would be something like the castor bean, and the phrase “hint or two of toxicity” should be changed so that very toxic plants would be more logically included in the list. you could also do something like add a “bonus: poinsettias- these are widely believed to be deadly dangerous to ingest, BUT……” instead of making it number 10.

        hey, you made a few errors/poor choices, but it’s your first list and jamie published it anyway so don’t be so touchy. just realize for the future that it’s good to make sure the title topic of the list and ranking of the entries/actual entries all are in logical agreement with each other.

  • MIkael

    Wow! I have #1 in front of my house!

  • telosphilos

    I’ve never seen Oleander described as little before. Particularly since it is usually taller than me around here in North Texas.

  • Creamer

    just gonna go throw out some oleander from the spice rack now..

  • eddie

    the dumb cane was like, very common!we thought it was cabbage.good thing we didn’t digest it lol

  • Wild sunflower

    Wow! You have done your research! I am from South India and seeing the picture of “Oleander”- at first- i did not read the paragraph immediately below…i was thinking this does look like our deadly plant..and then as I read the paragraph you have described the very plant I was thinking! I thought it was a native Indian plant..dint know it grew here as well! Anywyz much information for someone who is ignorant of the flora here…esp when trying to do gardening and only looking at beautiful flowers/leaves without knowing what the plant can do! Thanks a bunch for the post. Very helpful as well!

  • Lala

    Um idk where you get this info but aloe is safe to eat. My family has been eating it for years. We break off the leaves, peel them and put them in smoothies.

    You said alot in this article that taken in excess is toxic, he’ll even m n m s in excess is toxic. Anything is.

    Grasping. At. Straws.

  • it’s my 2nd time to leave a comment..hi fellaz.. B-)

  • goksMan

    aloe vera? what is there any safe plant on earth

  • JulieDove4

    I got #2 in my loo!

  • ABBY

    great. now i have to make sure my dog doesn’t chew the DumbCane leaves. -.-