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15 Charming But Poisonous Flowers That Might Be In Your Garden

Poisonous Flowers
Image Source Pixabay

Flowers: the symbol of purity, beauty, and love

With each color having a different meaning

White for weddings, red for valentine, blue for desire, and so on

But do we know most flowers that are soothing to watch or easy to grow at home are, in fact, poisonous?

Yes, indeed, some flowers are poisonous and even lethal.

So, let’s get to know a few deadly flowers to make sure next time we are cautious when we get our hands on any of them.

deadly flowers

How do we define poisonous flowers?

Irrespective of the shape or color, the flowers that can cause harm to humans, pets, cattle, and other domestic animals’ health by touch or consumption are called poisonous or dangerous flowers.

Degree of Toxicity Varies For Deadly Flowers

Degree of Toxicity Varies For Deadly Flowers

The degree of toxicity varies too.

So, for your convenience, the degree of toxicity is categorized into two levels: Highly Toxic, and Moderately & Low Toxic.

Some are deadly to the level that eating them can cause serious health issues, leading to death even. (Highly Toxic)

Some cause digestive system issues if eaten (Moderately Toxic)

And some flowers may just cause skin irritation (Low Toxic)

So, without further delay, let’s go through some of the deadliest flowers in the world.

Highly Toxic flowers

Let’s start with the 10 deadliest flowers in the world.

Given below is the list of flowers, few of which are poisonous flowers to touch even, let alone ingesting them. They are equally poisonous for humans as well for cats and dogs, as mentioned by ASPCA on its website.

1. Foxglove

Foxglove
Image Sources pixabay

The consumption of this plant causes irregular heartbeats leading to death. It is also known as California’s toxic plant.

Foxgloves are the bell-shaped flowers from the category of poisonous purple flowers, but a few of them are white, cream yellow rose, or pink as well.

The toxic element is digitalis glycosides, an organic compound that affects the cardiovascular system.

It’s grown widely in home gardens for its beauty and unique shape. But caution is advised while planting this at home.

Keep it away for the children and pets. There’s a story of a couple in the United States who ate these flowers mistakenly for borage, and their heartbeat got adversely affected.

Scientific Name L. Digitalis purpurea
Native to Mediterranean region, Europe, and the Canary Islands
Poisonous For animals Yes
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Both
Symptoms Low heart rate and dizziness, death

2. Aconite or Wolf’s Bane

Aconite or Wolf's Bane
Image Sources Flickr

It is also called Aconitum, Monkshood, or Devil’s helmet – a genus with 250+ species.

Another name is Wolf’s Bane, for the reason that in the past, it was used to kill wolves. It’s the poisonous Japanese flower as well.

The spire-like flowers are purple or deep-blue in color. The upper sepal of the flower develops into a helmet-like structure that looks like cloaks worn by the medieval monks.

It’s also one of the deadliest plants ever known, which, if ingested or handled without safety garden gloves, can lead to death even.

According to the poison expert, John Robertson,

“It’s probably the most poisonous plant that people will have in their garden,”

There’s news of a 33-year-old gardener, Greenway, who came across this plant while gardening, and later died because of multiple organ failures.

Another fatality was of the Canadian actor Andre Noble, who accidentally ate aconite while he was on a hiking tour.

Not only the flowers, but the whole plant is poisonous. A person or animal victim of it may experience dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea leading to arrhythmia, paralysis, or cardiac arrest.

Scientific Name Aconitum (genus)
Native to Western and Central Europe
Poisonous For Animal Yes
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Both
Symptoms Slow Heart Beat Until The System Paralyses

3. Larkspur

Larkspur
Image Sources pixabay

Larkspur is another poisonous flower that has affected cattle’s heavily in the western US.

The toxicity level in the plants is high during the early growth stage, but in flowers, the toxin level increases even late in the season as well.

The toxicity is due to the presence of several alkaloids in it.

The trap lies in the palatability of this flower, and the fact that it grows in the early spring before even grass grows – leaving the only option for the cattle.

The horses and sheep are least affected, but can also be fatal for them if they do not take rest after ingesting larkspur in a large amount.

Scientific Name Delphinium exaltatum
Native to Eastern North America
Poisonous For Animal Yes, Cattle, Horses
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Both
Outcomes Nausea, Bloating, Weakness, etc
Do You Know: Larkspur is a widely grown plant to make medicines for intestinal worms, poor appetite, and as a sedative. That’s why you may find websites telling how to plant, prune, and water Larkspur.

4. Morning Glory

Morning Glory
Image Sources pixabay

Ipomoea or Convolvulus or Morning Glory is another deadly flower that’s nothing less than a snake in the grass.

Its genus is Ipomoea, which has more than 600 species, of which more common are Ipomoea purpurea.

The trumpet-shaped flowers have poisonous seeds inside them.

ACPSA specially mentions it as a toxic plant for cats, dogs, and horses.

The toxic part is Indole alkaloids such as Elymoclavine, Lysergic Acid, Lysergamide, and Chanoclavine.

Fortunately, the petals of the Morning flowers are not dangerous. But if seeds are consumed, it will cause much harm than expected.

Scientific Name Ipomoea (genus)
Native to South America
Poisonous For Animal Toxic for Cats, Dogs, and Horses
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Consumption
Outcomes Diarrhea to hallucinations

5. Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel
Image Sources Flickr

Common names are Mountain Laurel, Calico bush, or simply Laurel. The family name is Ericaceae.

It’s a perennial plant that grows up to 3 feet high.

The small white or pink flower with maroon or purple markings blooms in the late spring or early summer.

Not only flowers, but the entire plant is poisonous, especially the young shoot and leaves.

Scientific Name Kalmia latiforia
Native to Eastern North America
Poisonous For Animal Yes: Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Horses, Camelids
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Consumption
Outcomes Watering of eyes & nose; abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, paralysis

6. Oleander

Oleander
Oleander Flower

Also called Rose Laurel, Oleander flowers are another tropical poisonous flower type that has proved fatal in many cases.

Not only flowers but all parts of the plants – leaves, flowers roots sap, stems – are said to be poisonous,

So poisonous that some claim that consumption of its single leaf by a child can kill him instantly.

Also, inhaling its smoke while burning its wood is dangerous.

The famous case of poisoning in the Peninsular war of 1807 is well-known, where soldiers died of meat cooked on skewers of oleander.

The shrub is also poisonous for cattle and horses. Even water in which oleander leaves have fallen is toxic for animals.

Scientific Name Nerium Oleander
Native to Northern Africa and The Eastern
Poisonous For Animal Yes
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Both
Symptoms Dizzy, Seizures, Coma or Death

7. Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley
Image Sources Pixabay

Check this one of the most fragrant yet poisonous flowers that are white, small, and bell-shaped.

Like other poisonous plants, this whole herbaceous plant is toxic. The poisonous ingredient is Cardiac glycosides.

It’s easily found in the Appalachia region of the United States. So, it isn’t uncommon if you find it in someone’s garden there.

It grows up to 12-inch height and spreads quickly because of its quick-to-spread rhizomes.

So how poisonous is it?

Well, its toxicity is linked with its self-defense against animals who eat its seeds.

Scientific Name Convallaria majalis
Native to Euro Asia and Eastern North America
Poisonous For Animal Yes (poisonous flower for cats)
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Both
Symptoms Diarrhea, Loss of Appetite, Nausea, Stomach Pain

8. Poison Hemlock or Conium Maculatam

Poison Hemlock
Image Sources Pixabay

Commonly known as mere Hemlock, it is a highly poisonous herbaceous flowering plant in the carrot family, famous in Texas.

It grows throughout the United States, and reaches up to a height of 6-10 ft with a hollow stem, giving the illusion of a wild carrot plant.

They are commonly seen along roadsides, field margins, hiking trails, and ditches.

The flowers are beautiful, loosely clustered, and have five petals each.

Not only flowers but all parts of this plant are toxic. The toxic compounds are g-coniceine, coniine, and related piperidine alkaloids.

Did You Know: It was Poison Hemlock that killed the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates

Poisoning happens because this plant resembles many other plants from several aspects,

Its roots resemble wild parsnip’s, leaves with parsley’s, and seed with anise’s.

Children once became victims of this plant when they used whistles made out of its hollow stems.

Besides humans, sheep, cattle, swine, horses, and domestic animals have reportedly died from consuming this plant, both in green and dried form.

Animals eating Poison Hemlock die from respiratory paralysis in 2-3 hours.

Scientific Name Conium maculatam
Native to Europe, Western Asia & North Africa
Poisonous For Animal Yes
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Both
Symptoms Nervous trembling, Salivation

9. Water Hemlock or Cicuta

Water Hemlock or Cicuta
Image Sources Flickr

Some people confuse Water Hemlock with the Poison Hemlock mentioned above.

However, both are different.

Water Hemlock or Cicuta is a genus having 4-5 species, whereas Poison Hemlock is one of the species’ of the genus, Conium.

Water Hemlock and Poison Hemlock with labels
Image Sources pixabay, flickr

Water hemlock is one of the poisonous trees that widely grows at the streambanks, wet meadows and marshy areas in North America.

It has small umbrella-like flowers that are white and form clusters.

All parts of the plants, like roots, seeds, flowers, leaves, and fruits, are toxic. The toxic compound is Cicutoxin, which directly attacks the central nervous system.

The affected animals show signs of poisoning in 15 minutes to 6 hours.

Most animal losses occur early in the spring when animals graze on its green seed-heads.

All of the following species of Cicuta are equally poisonous and similar in shape and size.

  • Cicuta bulbifera
  • Cicuta douglasii
  • Cicuta maculata
  • Cicuta virosa
Scientific Name Cicuta (genus)
Native to North America and Europe
Poisonous For Animal Yes
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Consumption
Symptoms Seizures, Convulsions

10. Colorado Rubberweed or Pinge

Colorado Rubberweed or Pinge
Image Sources Flickr

Colorado Rubberweed or Bitterweed is a small shaggy plant from a sunflower family that grows up to 1.5ft.

It grows in mountains and foothills in early spring till the first frost.

Its golden-yellow or orange flowers are highly toxic, which has caused enormous losses in sheep herds, and occasionally in cattle.

The losses are higher when hungry animals trail through the places where it’s widely grown.

Besides flowers, the stems, seeds, leaves, and any part above the ground is poisonous.

The plant attacks the digestive system of the animal first, giving a green froth around its muzzle as a first sign.

A sheep ingesting 1/4th to ½ kg of Colorado rubber weed daily for 1-2 weeks or a large amount at once may die.

Scientific Name Hymenoxys richardsoni
Native to North America
Poisonous For Animal Yes, especially Sheeps
Poisonous For Humans No
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Consumption
Symptoms Nausea, Vomiting, GI tract, Congested lungs

Moderately and Low Toxic Flowers

Flowers under this category are not the deadliest ones, because the maximum they can do is to cause skin irritation or make you sick.

However, in severe cases, where a large amount of them is consumed, it may cause fatality as well.

11. Baby’s Breath

Babys Breath
Image Sources Unsplash

It’s from the category of the poisonous white flowers.

Mostly with white-colored flowers, baby’s breath is a perennial ornamental garden plant that forms most bouquets sold in the United States.

Is baby’s breath poisonous?

All parts of this plant are toxic and may cause Contact Dermatitis or allergic asthma. The toxic compound is Saponin.

In the United States, it can be found at the roadsides, beaches, and other open areas where the soil is not that acidic.

Grown in most pastures and hayfields, it’s called noxious weed in Washington and California.

Scientific Name Gypsophila paniculata
Native to Central and Eastern Europe
Poisonous For Animal Yes – gastro problems
Poisonous For Humans Yes, mild
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Both
Symptoms Sinus Irritation, Asthma

12. Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart
Image Sources Flickr

The pink heart-shaped flowers on an arching stems look so adorable in the garden. Yet the toxicity in them cautions us to handle them with care.

The Asian-Bleeding heart grows up to 47 inches tall and 18 inches wide.

The entire plant, including the roots, is toxic to both animals and humans. The toxic compound is the isoquinoline-like alkaloids in it.

Scientific Name Lamprocapnos spectabilis
Native to Northern China, Korea, Japan, Siberia
Poisonous For Animal Yes, Cattel, Sheep & Dogs
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Both
Symptoms Vomiting, Diarrhea, Convulsions And Breathing Difficulty

13. Daffodils

Daffodils
Image Sources pixabay

Daffodils are poisonous yellow flowers, the blooming of which is a sign of the spring eve.

It is a showy yellow with six petals and a trumpet-shaped corona in its center. The height of the plant is just 1 to 1.5ft, with each flower growing on the separate thick, fluffy stem.

All parts of the Daffodil plants are toxic, and the toxic compound is the lycorine and oxalate in it.

Especially eating its bulb causes stomach upset and mouth irritation, because of the highest concentration of lycorine in it than any other part.

But luckily, it’s not life-threatening as other poisonous plants are.

So, its recommended not to plant daffodil where children or pets have easy access to.

Real Story: A four-year-old girl ate two daffodils and began to vomit after 20 minutes. On Poison Control’s advice, she was given fluids and got better after 2 hours
Scientific Name Narcissus
Native to Western Europe
Poisonous For Animal Yes, poisonous flower for dogs (especially bulbs)
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Both
Symptoms Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, And Abdominal Pain

14. Bloodroot

Bloodroot
Image Sources Flickr

Bloodroot is a herbaceous plant, the white flowers of which bloom in the early spring—surrounded by large rounded leaves.

The name is taken from the red blood-like latex extracted from these plants’ rhizomes.

Although the plant is famous for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and diuretic purposes, still caution must be taken before using it.

The plant contains sanguinarine, which is suspected of causing cancer.

Scientific Name Sanguinaria canadensis
Native to Eastern North America
Poisonous For Animal Yes
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Consumption
Symptoms Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea

15. Naked Lady or Amaryllis belladonna

Naked Lady or Amaryllis belladonna
Image Sources Flickr

Other names for this plant are Amaryllis Lily, August Lily, Belladonna Lily, Jersey Lily, March Lily, Naked Lady, Resurrection Lily.

It’s a common plant in the United States that’s sold for its beautiful flowers produced in winter.

Consumption of its bulb has produced poisoning effects in many humans. The toxic elements are alkaloid and lycorine.

All parts of the plant are toxic, including flowers, leaves, roots, seeds, and stems

It grows up to 2-3 ft height and propagated with bulb rather than stem cutting.

Are lilies poisonous to humans: Well, not all lilies are toxic to humans, but for cats, one has to be cautious, almost all the lilies are extremely dangerous for them.
Scientific Name Amaryllis belladonna
Native to South Africa
Poisonous For Animal Yes, poisonous flower for cats, poisonous flower for dogs, and horses
Poisonous For Humans Yes
Poisonous By touch or Consumption Consumption
Symptoms Vomiting, Diarrhea, Abdominal pain

What Flowers Are Poisonous to Cats? Poisonous Flowers for Cats

As we are cautious while giving foods like honey, lettuce, etc. to our cats, we are concerned about our cats getting closer to the houseplants as well.

Is this plant toxic to our cat? Is it going to hurt her? And similar question roams around our minds.

As per the American Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the following are some flowers that must be kept at arm’s length from the pet cats.

  • Lilies like Amaryllis belladonna, Arum lily, Asian lily, Barbados Lily, Calla Lily
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azalea
  • Barbados Pride
  • Begonia
  • Bishop’s weed
  • Bitterroot
  • Black Calla
  • Butterfly Iris
  • Cape Jasmine
  • Chamomile

What Flowers Are Poisonous to Dogs?

Combining the list provided by the Vet Technicians and APCA, the following are flowers or plants that are toxic to dogs, some of which have already been discussed in detail above.

  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azaleas
  • Black Locust
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Buttercups
  • Cherries (Wild and Cultivated)
  • Daffodil
  • Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
  • Elderberry
  • Elephant Ear
  • Foxglove
  • Jasmine
  • Jimson Weed (Thorn Apple)
  • Lantana Camara (Red Sage)
  • Larkspur
  • Laurels
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Monkshood
  • Nightshade
  • Oak Trees
  • Oleander
  • Poison Hemlock
  • Rhubarb
  • Water Hemlock

Conclusion

The beautiful but poisonous flowers mentioned above are not exhaustive. Instead, there are hundreds of such flowers, like deadly nightshade that look so beautiful but hides poison inside them.

In the wild such plants prey more of the livestock and other freely grazing animals. So, cut off any suspicious herb or plant in your garden

Have you seen any of the above flowers ever? Or heard any person or animal getting poisoned by any such flower? Share your story with us in the comments section below.

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