10 Deadliest Plants That Can Choke You To Death

Plants are indeed one of the world’s most beautiful gifts Mother Nature has given us. But, they also say that “appearances are deceptive”, and this sounds so true when we talk about some poisonous plants. If the earth has a place for good greens, then it has for bad as well. The plants listed in this article might appear harmless but harbors the deadliest poisons known. They might be deceptively attracting but can cause some fatal convulsions if one ever tried to taste or touch them.

From the demise of Socrates (Greek philosopher) by hemlock (a poisonous plant) to kids accidentally ingesting the deadly nightshades, poisonous plants have been the cause for thousands of human deaths throughout the history.

Here is a list of world’s 10 most poisonous plants that not only contain high amounts of toxins but can also kill a human in minutes.

10. Water Hemlock

Scientific Name: Cicuta maculata

poisonous plants

This plant killed the Greek Philosopher Socrates, and that’s how it came into the limelight. It is considered as North America’s deadliest plants. It is most often mistaken for edible celery or parsnips. However, hemlock has a deadly compound called cicutoxin, particularly in the roots.

How it kills?

Once ingested, the deadly convulsant “cicutoxin” directly affects the central nervous system. The symptoms begin to occur in 15 minutes – 6 hours. There will be a rapid commencement of seizures followed by nausea, muscle twitch, vomiting, excessive salivation, frothing in the mouth, dilation of pupils, and increased pulse. Death usually occurs due to ventricular fibrillation or respiratory paralysis after a few hours.

9. The Suicide Tree

Scientific Name: Cerbera odollam

plants that are poisonous

The species is aptly named – “the suicide tree.” The toxin lies in its seeds, which is called cerberin. In fact, it is the perfect weapon to murder a human. According to this study, the odollam or suicide tree accounts for about 50 percent of the global deaths, out of which, 10 percent of the odollam-poisoning cases are reported to occur in Kerala, India.

How it kills?

The potent compound “cerberin” has the ability to disrupt calcium ion channels in the heart muscles. The symptoms begin within 30 minutes to 1 hour, which include fatal, irregular heartbeats along with intense pain in the abdomen, vomiting, nausea, burning sensation in the mouth, dilated pupils, drowsiness, coma, and finally death after 3 to 6 hours of consumption.

8. Angel’s Trumpet

Scientific Name: Brugmansia

toxic plants in the world

Angel’s trumpets originated from South America, however, today, they are seen worldwide. They are named Angel’s trumpet because of their pendulous trumpet shape. They are covered with hairs and are seen hanging from the tree. However, behind these little beauties are the world’s deadliest toxins. In fact, every part of this plant contains toxins like atropine and scopolamine.

Many people use a small quantity of this plant for recreational purposes, usually to induce euphoria and hallucinations. However, there are many varieties of Brugmansia whose toxicity levels differ from each other. Due to this, a lot of consumers have ended up overdosing and died.

How it kills?

Poisoning occurs once it is ingested. The toxic alkaloids in them – “hyoscyamine, atropine, and scopolamine” – enters into the gastrointestinal tract via the blood stream. Once this happens, the onset of fatal symptoms occurs rapidly. A person experiences dry mouth, dilated pupils, rapid pulse, muscle weakness, hallucinations, and high fever. After a few hours, he or she will have severe convulsions, paralysis, coma, and finally death.

7. Doll’s Eyes

Scientific Name: Actaea pachypoda

most poisonous plant

The contrasting black dots look similar to an eye; thus, the name “doll’s eyes.” This poisonous plant is also called White Baneberry and is native to Northern & Eastern America. At a mere glance, the eyes have the ability to captivate any human but don’t fall for it because that is the exact part where the toxins are abundantly concentrated.

The doll’s eyes (the plant’s fruit part) not only can entice children but also taste sweet, which makes it easy for kids to ingest accidentally. These plants have been one of the major causes of poisoning in children.

How it kills?

The toxic alkaloids in Baneberry cause severe burning in the throat and mouth right after it is ingested. Further, the victim will experience dizziness, confusions, vomiting, and headaches. If the poisoning is severe, there will be difficulty in breathing followed by paralysis and convulsions. The berries have a deadly carcinogenic toxin, which is known to show instant and sedative effects on the cardiac muscles, finally leading to death.

6. Oleander

Scientific Name: Nerium oleander

most poisonous plant in the world

Oleander is certainly one of the beautiful plants with the most striking flowers you will ever see. It is commonly used for ornamental purposes. However, these beauties carry the deadliest poisons. While they may be elegant to look at, never make the mistake of chewing any part of it because its flowers, fruits, leaves, and roots are poisonous.

How it kills?

Once consumed, the symptoms occur within a few minutes. It causes diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, erratic pulse, coma, and finally death. This is because they contain cardiac glycosides called neriine and oleandrin. These two compounds are enough to cause cardiac arrest.

5. Rosary Pea

Scientific Name: Abrus precatorius

most poisonous plants in the world

Rosary peas are otherwise known as jequirity beans or crab’s eyes. This poisonous plant is native to India and Indonesia. However, you will see them growing in many parts of the world today. The plant is well admired for its seeds. Due to their attractive bright red color, they are often used as beads.

These seeds give an amazing finish while making jewelry but this is also the part that encloses the dangerous toxin called abrin. According to research, abrin, as little as three micrograms is adequate to kill a human; hence, using these seeds even as beads pose a big threat.

How it kills?

Just the toxin of 1 seed can turn fatal in humans. Once the GI tract absorbs it, the compound “abrin” prevents the synthesis of protein within cells. Within 30 minutes of ingestion, an individual experiences severe vomiting and black, liquid stools. Then, the pulse rate changes and the body temperature goes high. If the case is severe, eventually, there will be organ failure and finally, death.

4. White Snakeroot

Scientific Name: Ageratina altissima

what is the most poisonous plant in the world

If you love reading history textbooks, you will know that this plant was the cause of Nancy Lincoln’s death. She is none other than the mother of Abraham Lincoln. Sadly, she didn’t even ingest the plant directly. She was poisoned by just drinking the cow’s milk that had already grazed on it. The toxins of white snakeroot plants are so powerful that they can bring serious sickness and even death.

How it kills?

The toxic compound in white snakeroot is none other than “trematol”. Once ingested, this alcoholic toxin will begin its work. It causes appetite loss, nausea, abnormal acidity in the blood, extreme weakness, reddened tongue, abdominal discomfort, and finally death.

3. Deadly Nightshade

Scientific Name: Atropa belladonna

the most poisonous plant

Belladonna is otherwise called Devil’s berries and is reported to be one of the world’s deadliest plants. This poisonous plant is native to Western Asia, North Africa, and Europe. The toxins in belladonna are so high that just one leaf or a few of these berries is enough to take away the life of a human.

How it kills?

The deadly nightshade plant is laden with toxic alkaloid called tropane, which is known to cause hallucinations and delirium. The leaves have the highest concentrations of poisons, which include scopolamine and atropine. After it is ingested, it causes blurry vision, loss of balance, dry mouth, dry throat, abnormal heartbeats, breathing difficulties, paralysis, and death if the case is severe.

2. Dumb Cane

Scientific Name: Dieffenbachia

top 10 most poisonous plants

Dieffenbachia or Dumb Cane is one of the most common plants seen in offices and homes. However, very few know that it is one among the deadliest plants in the world. Just one bite of it can paralyze a person’s voice and damage multiple organs. It kills an adult in less than 15 minutes while a child in 1 minute.

How it kills?

All the parts of this plant are poisonous. The leaves, roots, and stalks contain some dangerous substances like asparagines and oxalic acid, which when comes in contact with eyes (by just rubbing with your hands), it can instantly damage the cornea and at the same time cause severe eye pain. On the other hand, ingestion causes vomiting, nausea, hoarse voice, burning sensation in the mouth, diarrhea, numbness, difficulty in speaking, paralysis, and then death.

1. Castor Plant

Scientific Name: Ricinus communis

the most poisonous plants

Castor plants are found in many gardens and households. However, they are highly dangerous. In fact, they are so noxious that it holds the title of World’s Most Poisonous Plant from the Guinness Book of World Records. So, no wonder this has topped this list.

One castor seed has adequate “ricin” to take away the life of a human in minutes. Though the toxic compound ricin is present in the entire castor plant, the highest concentrations are in its seeds.

How it kills?

Ingestion of castor seeds causes serious problems. The symptoms start with bloody diarrhea, burning sensations in the throat as well as the mouth, vomiting, and abdominal pain. All these lead to severe dehydration in the body, which finally results in death.

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