Plants can restore and nourish life. They also give food, shelter and breathable air to all organisms. Apart from these life-affirming functions, plants are also used for their aesthetic value. They are used for decorating homes, warding off negative energies and supplying fresh oxygen inside the houses. Generally, the popular opinion dictates that all plants are harmless. And, it is largely true. Money plants, bonsai and bamboo plants are just a few examples of such harmless ornamental plants. But, not all plants are meant for decorating our homes. There are some plants which should never be kept inside the confines of our homes. Some of those plants have been listed below.
1. Atropa belladonna (Deadly Nightshades)
This plant has a notorious reputation in the plant kingdom. There is a legend about this plant that Danish invaders were poisoned with wine mixed with the fruits of belladonna by Macbeth’s soldiers. The fruits of this plant look like berries and are sweet to taste. Hence, it can easily be confused with berries. Its taste and appearance are the reasons why people often deem it to be edible. Unfortunately, this often leads to poisoning. This plant is a native of central and southern parts of Europe and Asia. Atropine and scopolamine are the two compounds responsible for its toxicity. These toxic compounds are found in the leaves, roots, fruits and stem of the plant. Ingestion of these toxic compounds can cause paralysis of the involuntary muscles. The heart is an involuntary muscle of the body, which is why ingestion of this plant can cause death. This plant is so toxic that even external contact can lead to inflammation of the skin.
2. Cicuta maculata (Water Hemlock)
No prizes for guessing that this plant is organically related to the poison hemlock. Yes, poison hemlock is the plant that was used to murder Socrates in the bygone era. Water hemlock looks similar to the Queen Anne’s lace in appearance and it comes from the family of carrots. This plant is also toxic by nature. It contains a deadly cictutoxin which is mostly present in the roots of this plant. The toxicity of this plant is so strong that the effect can immediately be seen after its exposure. Abdominal cramps, nausea and painful spasms are a few symptoms of water hemlock poisoning. In extreme cases of poisoning, death can happen.
3. Ricinus communis (Castor Beans)
This plant is typically grown as an ornamental plant because of it desirable looks. And, it also happens to be a commercially viable plant. Oil is extracted out of the processed seeds of this plant. Castor oil is one of the most popular oils in the world. But, these seeds contain a poison called ricin, which gets removed during the processing of the seeds. Ricin is a highly toxic compound which can be harmful even in minute quantities. A seed or two can kill a child, whereas seven to eight seeds are enough to kill an adult. Ricin disrupts protein synthesis inside our cells. This can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, seizures and even death in extreme cases. Does its use in the cult series Breaking Bad ring a bell?
4. Nerium oleander (Oleander)
This plant is another viable ornamental plant which is popular for its beautiful pink flowers. Although it is a known fact that this plant is poisonous, some people still like to keep it in their gardens. This beautiful plant contains two deadly toxins called oleandrin and nerine. These two toxic compounds upon ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal pulse, seizures and even death in some cases. This plant is so toxic that physical contact with it can cause irritation of the skin. Thankfully, due to its bitter taste, the consumption of the flowers is rare.
Plants are a beautiful creation of nature, but some plants are best left in the wild. So, avoid growing these plants in your garden to safeguard yourself and your family from deadly poisons.