Plants appear safe, some even appear tasty, but some of them can kill you in seconds, or cause immense pain that last for hours until you finally croak. The deadliest plants all look harmless, they look like something that you might want to put in a meal, or just pull off a tree and eat, and that’s exactly what makes it so easy to die from one. The Deadliest plants can kill with only a small amount being digested, or cause blisters on peoples skin who only touch it.
Nightshade is one of the deadliest plants in the world, it can be found in southern, and central Eurasia. The plant has green leaves and black shiny berries. The berries are sweet and look tasty, but it’s deadly to humans, and can easily kill. It’s common for people ignorant of the danger to eat nightshade assuming it’s just a harmless berry. Eating two berries can leave a full grown adult dead. Nightshade paralyses the involuntary muscles in the body, even the heart. Symptoms can include blurred vision, headaches, hallucinations, and trouble balancing.
Hemlock was known to be one of the deadliest plants in ancient Greece. They used it as a method of execution and, famously forced Socrates to ingest it for spreading offensive opinions. It only takes a handful of leaves to kill someone. The process begins slowly, first your legs will be paralysed, then the paralysis will start to make it’s way up your body, until it reaches the lungs, and then you’ll suffocate. Hemlock is highly poisonous, native to Europe and North Africa, and a part of the carrot family. It grows up to 8 feet tall, with a tall, hollow stem. When the leaves are crushed it produces a powerful, unpleasant smell. The smell makes it easy to recognise, but has been described as being similar to parsnips.
Devil’s Trumpets or Jimsonweed is native the United States. The plant can cause hallucinations which attracts many people to it, but it’s also known to be one of the deadliest plants in the United States. The poison is mostly concentrated in leaves, and seeds. Carelessly sucking the juice out of the seeds, leaves people incredibly unwell, or even dead. The plant originated in Mexico but became naturalised in many different countries. Taking this in the right dose allows it to be used as medicine, that can treat asthma, and can induce powerful visions, but only slightly higher than needed dose risks death.
The entire plant is poisonous with most of the poison being concentrated in the leaves and seeds. The poison can cause paralysis of smooth muscles, confusion, diarrhoea, migraines, hallucinations, mydriasis, and even death. The hallucinations may sound fun, but they’ve been described as terrifying rather than pleasurable. The hallucinations are like nightmares, inducing sickening after effects, and even causing temporary insanity. There was even one case of a person who amputated both his tongue and penis after drinking only one cup. Some South American cultures use Brugmansia to punish children who misbehave. They believe it allows the children to be punished directly by their ancestors in the spirit world.
The plant is around 3 feet tall, and causes a type of illness in people known as milk sickness. Cattle eat large quantities of white snakeroot, which often kills the cow. It can also poison the milk inside the cow and, when humans drink this milk they get milk sickness. People succumb to this illness can experience weakness, and vomiting, they can even fall into a coma. In some cases it can even cause death. People can also get the same illness from eating the Cow’s meat if it is also contaminated. It’s native to North America and likely killed thousands of Europeans who travelled there.
Oleander is a deadly flower, all parts of it are deadly. People have even become ill after eating honey, made by bees who landed on the flowers. If ingested the plant can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, seizures, comas and death. Although the plant is so deadly there have been very few deaths caused by it, only 3 people died from it in the US, from 1985 to 2005. The plant has an unpleasant taste which is why there are so few deaths. The plant has led to an urban legend talking about a group of boy scouts who died eating hot dogs, off of Oleander sticks.
Wolfsbane or Aconitum have been used for years to create poison tipped arrows to use in hunting, and wars. They mainly grow on mountains in the northern hemisphere. They grow in the moisture-retentive but well-draining soils of mountain meadows. The Ainu in Japan use the plant to hunt bears, Minaro in Ladakh use it for poison arrows, and the Chinese used it for both hunting, and warfare. Aleuts in Alaska, used to use it to poison the tip of a lance, they would then hurl the lance at a whale. The whale would become paralysed and then drown. Most varieties of the plant are extremely poisonous.
Castor oil plants is listed as the deadliest plant in the world in the Guinness Book of World Records. Castor seed contains between 40% and 60% oil, the rest is ricin, a water soluble toxin. A dose of purified ricin powder need only be the size of a few grains of salt to kill an adult man. Castor oil seeds have been discovered in Egyptian tombs thousands of years old. The oil was used to fuel lamps, as it was a slow burn. It’s been used for a handful of random things throughout history. It was used by Herodotus and other Greek travellers as a body ointment, and to improve hair growth. It was used by Cleopatra to brighten the whites of her eyes, and was used by many as a laxative.
Cerbera is a species of tree deadly to human. It’s been used in suicide and murder more than any plant in the world. It’s native to India and other parts of southern Asia. It mainly grows in coastal salt swamps, and marshy areas. It’s commonly used in India for murder and suicide, in the Indian state of Kerala alone, over 500 people committed suicide, or homicide using Cerbera, over a period of only 2 years. It’s very easy to hide in people’s food without them noticing because it can be disguised with spices.
Little Apple of Death
This is one of the deadliest trees in the world. The sap from the tree is a strong skin irritant, and can induce strong allergic reactions. Standing under this tree while it rains will cause your skin to blister. Any liquid with a small amount of trees sap on it will cause blistering. Burning the tree can also be dangerous, if the smoke reaches your eyes. The tree looks similar to an apple tree, and it’s fruit looks dangerously similar to apples. Because of this some people mistake it for an apple and eat the fruit. The fruit tastes, nice and sweet at first. It then has a strange peppery feeling, which eventually turns into a burning, tearing sensations, and tightness of the throat. Eventually it gets so bad that people can’t even swallow food, because of the extreme pain, and the feeling that there’s a giant lump in their throat.