Dangerous flowering weeds that may be in your garden

Dangerous flowering weeds that may be in your garden

Don’t be too alarmed, as your garden may be trying to harm you. As much as we love the magnolias, grasses, crape myrtle, live oaks, climbing roses, and everything in our vegetable gardens, there are some plants out there that aren’t so good (we’re looking at you, poison ivy). While many dangerous plants are unlikely to appear in your flower garden, there are some weeds that produce beautiful flowers and tempting berries that might look at home next to camellias, but are just as deadly. This weed may look sweet, but one touch can be bad news. Here are some of the most dangerous flowering weeds around.


Jameson Wade

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This plant produces a white flower somewhat similar to a morning glory, but from root to leaf, this plant is blocked. Also called the devil’s snare, the plant’s seeds, roots, stems and leaves are dangerous if ingested. Not only do they cause heart palpitations, respiratory and circulatory problems, but the seeds can cause terrifying hallucinations and even death.



Death meadow kama

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It makes sense to be wary of any flower that has the word “death” in its name Zigadenus is poisonous is no exception. The plant has delicate flowers that indicate its relationship to the lily family. Don’t let the fact that it’s part of the lily family fool you, because all parts of this plant are poisonous, including the bulb, which resembles a wild onion. This beautiful plant can cause vomiting, convulsions and death.



Belladonna

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Atropa belladonna Commonly known as the deadly nightshade, it has the distinction of being one of the most toxic plants in the entire hemisphere. Its dark purple, bell-shaped flowers are beautiful, but this beauty belies its lethality. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, its leaves, fruits and roots are all highly toxic whether eaten or cleaned only if there is an open wound or abrasion. It’s bad for adults, but “the risk to children who do not understand the toxic properties of all parts of this plant is great,” warns the Missouri Botanical Garden.



Sweet and sour eggplant

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Although not as poisonous as their cousin the deadly nightshade, the beautiful purple flowers and bright red berries on the bittersweet nightshade are a tempting sight. However, Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences states that “all parts of the plant are poisonous to some degree.” These berries are toxic to pets and can be fatal to children, so it’s best to keep them out of the garden. Use gloves and/or protective equipment when handling the plant.



Water hemlock

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These beautiful flowers (Hemlock Douglas) are part of the carrot family and resemble parsnips or wild carrots, but are far from edible. The USDA notes that “water hemlock is the most toxic plant growing in North America.” Water hemlock contains a toxic substance called cytotoxin which even in small amounts can trigger violent seizures leading to cardiac arrest and death.



Giant hogweed

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The carrot’s other cousin is the giant pigweed, which has enormous blooms that look a bit like Queen Anne’s lace on steroids. According to West Virginia University, the flowers are so beautiful, and the 15-foot-tall plants so stunning, that they were originally introduced to North America as ornamental plants. However, don’t plant it, because just a touch of the sap can cause severe skin irritation, burns, scarring and blindness. If you see giant pigweed in your garden, do not touch the plant or try to remove it yourself. Instead, contact your county environmental agency immediately.



Pokeweed

Getty/Raquel Lunas

Pokeweed, also known as Pokeweed and Pokeberry, is a puzzling plant. While the properly prepared, thrice-boiled, tender spring leaves of this plant are the staple of sallet, an ingredient of Southern cuisine, the plant is truly poisonous. Chefs who prepare pokeweed know that if they are not careful, symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and rapid heartbeat can quickly follow cooking. There is no doubt that full-grown pokeweed, with its bright berries, purple stems and delicate white flowers from root to leaf, is harmful, invasive, dangerous and difficult to eradicate. Salite pricks are great, but we leave it to the professionals and stick to cake pricks.



Oleander

Getty/Adel Bekfi

You’d be forgiven for not being aware of this particular oleander nerium oleander, Poisonous, the small woody shrub is a common sight in suburban landscapes due to its abundant white, pink, red or purple flowers. Despite its beauty, it is highly toxic due to the toxin it produces that can cause irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and cardiac arrest. It is bad for humans and animals, including dogs.


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