There are more than 700 species of poisonous plants growing in
Plants, indoors and out, can offer many benefits to body
and soul. They add beauty and fragrance to our lives,
they provide food, shelter, and privacy, and they have
medicinal benefits. However, plants can also pose a risk
when inappropriately used or accidentally eaten or
touched. A plant poisoning can be an allergic reaction
caused by spores or pollen, skin rashes caused by
touching plants, and internal poisonings caused by
eating of plants.
Some poisonous plants have become such an integral
part of our lives that many of us have lost track of the
fact they are potentially harmful.
A number of factors can play a role in the toxicity of plants: the part of plant; the
time of year; the body weight of the person involved; the type of interaction
(contact or ingested); and in some cases, the person’s metabolism and
susceptibility. Generally, the smaller a person is the less of the toxin is needed to
cause ill effects, making children more vulnerable. Also individual’s allergies play a
role, i.e., some people may be seriously allergic to certain plants, such as peanuts
or strawberries, while others can consume large quantities
Different species and even different individuals within a
species can react quite differently. Just because a wild animal
or bird ate something without becoming sick, that doesn’t
mean that it is not poisonous. Humans might be affected by
certain plants, yet dogs or cats may be immune, for example
cats and dogs can run through poison ivy without coming to
harm, but people may suffer blistering and itching if they
come in contact with the plant's sap (even petting their pets
after they run through it).
Poisonous mushrooms are very difficult to identify. Even the
experts make mistakes. Never eat mushrooms found in or on the ground. Only eat
the type found in the grocery store.
To avoid poisonings from plants:
Learn to recognize poisonous plants in your area.
Identify all plants in the home. Have this information on hand for use in an
Lock away or dispose of seeds, berries, bulbs and other plant materials that are
known to be toxic.
Remove known toxic plants from the house or place them out of the reach of
Don’t eat any part of an unknown plant.
Don’t let pets graze on poisonous plants.
Only eat mushrooms that are purchased in the grocery store.
This fact sheet is available as a handout.