Poisonous Landscape Plants to Avoid

Poisonous landscape plants come in many varieties. Unfortunately, this presents a real danger to homes with children and pets. Many are bright and colorful. Additionally, some are eaten by birds and other wild animals. Some are flowering plants, while others are nuisance weeds. So, when you’re, it’s a good idea to identify and rid your property of them as soon as possible.

Poisonous Landscape Plants to Avoid

Every household wants to keep their children, pets, and plants healthy. But the number of poisonous landscape plants found in residential backyards is staggering. This is due, in-part, to our modern way of life, removed decades ago from our ubiquitous agrarian ancestors. So, most of us simply don’t think about the dangers lurking in our yards. Even those who take great pride in their landscapes, might not know which plants are safe and which are poisonous.

Vegetation helps sustain life. We eat many plants, herbs and so forth in our daily diet. But, we must remember to be choosy. Some plants, trees or shrubs are potential killers of man. Some part of the ornamental plants or flowers in your yard may contain deadly poison. Many poisonous plants are so common and seemingly innocuous you do not suspect their toxic qualities. For example, who would expect that the beautiful oleander bush-grown indoors and outdoors all over the country-contains a deadly heart stimulant, similar to the drug digitalis? It is easy to be deceived by plants…one part may be edible while another is poisonous. –Texas A & M Horticulture

In fact, aside from poisonous plants, there are many household properties with non-native, invasive plant species. These are a concern because they take away precious resources from native, non-invasive species. To best protect your children and pets, you need to know which plants pose a danger. Here are the most poisonous landscape plants to avoid in your yard:

  • Pokeweed. Phytolacca americana or pokeweed is a traditional salad ingredient in the southern United States. Unfortunately, if it isn’t prepared the right way, its toxins remain and it is poisonous. Children are drawn to it because of its colorful berries. Birds eat pokeweed because they are immune by the plants natural but toxic, chemicals.
  • Doll’s eyes or white baneberry. This plant also grows berries and when eaten in a sufficient quantity, is poisonous. Unlike some other toxic plants, all its parts are poisonous, making them all-the-more dangerous. Two other very common poison species are white snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum) and water hemlock (Cicuta maculata).
  • Bittersweet nightshade. Another poison plant common to residential yards is bittersweet nightshade. Like pokeweed, wild birds eat the berries because they are unaffected by its toxins. Birds pass seeds through their waste, which helps to distribute the species. Bittersweet nightshade also possesses bright, colorful berries, which are tempting to small children.
  • Warning yew. These shrubs are very popular in the United Kingdom and the United States because they have an excellent reputation for being tolerant of different soils and sunlight conditions. However, all parts of this plant are poisonous, just like doll’s eyes.
  • Castor bean. Traditionally grown for its medicinal uses, castor bean is the ingredient to produce castor oil. Used as a laxative, it’s one of the most familiar medicine cabinet staples of older generations. But, the toxin ricin is made from castor bean seeds.
  • Angel’s trumpet. A tropical plant, angel’s trumpet boasts colorful trumpet-like flowers and emits a wonderful fragrance — two qualities which are very attractive to young children. It’s a hallucinogenic plant and poisonous when eaten in large quantities. Also, its sap is a skin irritant to some people.
  • Oleander. Typically found the western United States, this desert flower can cause skin rash and all of its parts are toxic, when enough of it is ingested. Oleander grows white or pink flowers, which are all too tempting to children.
  • Wolfsbane. Aconitum, also known as monkshood, is one of the most poisonous plants and like some others, all parts of it are toxic. Wolfsbane contains the alkaloids, aconitine and aconite and it does not need to be eaten to be poisonous. Its toxins can be absorbed through the skin.
  • Foxglove. Digitalis purpurea or foxglove is used to medically treat heart conditions. Unfortunately, like castor bean, it’s not only medicinal, it’s also deadly. In fact, it’s one of the most poisonous plants around.
  • Rhododendron. This colorful, green and purple shrub can be found in many landscapes in the country. But, all parts of this plant contain andromedotoxin, which makes the entire plant poisonous.

If it’s time to update your landscape or add more features, contact us. We are a full-service, professional landscape design company and serve all of Sarasota, including near Bayfront Drive, around Rolling Green Golf Club, along Longboat Club Road, and elsewhere.

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