Flowers are the most beautiful thing on earth. They are the Nature’s best creation. We hand over a bouquet to someone to make them feel special, right? Flowers are adored and loved by all as it also reflects the symbol of love, beauty and happiness and not to forget that weddings seem incomplete without floral decoration. We love everything about flowers starting from its aroma to its colour. One cannot overlook at its mesmerizing beauty and they seem to attract not only human but also bees and butterflies and even insects. It provides them with its nectar without ever repudiating. But are all the flowers meant to simplify beauty and happiness? Certainly not. Now this seems little strange but indeed true. There are some flowers that hide behind their awestruck beauty having themselves dipped in poison. They contain some deadly poison which when consumed, proves fatal. If not death, seizures, coma and other kinds of severe health complications starts to show. Some of these flowers are so dangerous that they end up killing people within seconds. Nevertheless, there are some among those “poisonous flowers” that show a slow effect on us. So, we can say that the intensity with which they attack varies even though all of them, by no means, qualify as a symbol of present to anyone.
Here are some of the deadly flowers mentioned that can give one an attack against their immunity.
10. Lily of the valley-
Lily of the valley or Convallaria Majalis, is also known as Mary’s tears. It is called so because it’s believed that the tear drops of Mary formed the Lily of Valley while Jesus was crucified. The flowers look like tiny jingle bells clustered together beautifully. The lily blooms in the late spring and also has poisonous orange-red berries. Though pretty but they are sweetly scented highly poisonous woodland flowering plant found in the cool temperate climatic areas. Each part of the plant, that is, its stem, leaves, seeds and flowers are highly toxic, as it defends itself against animals eating its seeds and contain about 40 different cardiac glycosides. Glycosides help increase contraction of the heart during pumping blood. So if consumed by an adult in a heavy dose, it can destroy our gastrointestinal, circulatory and nervous system. This can be followed by vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache and nausea and can even cause death.
Conium is also known as Hemlock and can be found in Europe and Mediterranean region. This is a genus of two highly poisonous flowering plants as conium maculatum and conium chaerophylloides. This is also called poison Hemlock because the great philosopher Socrates, after being sentenced to death, was given a cup of hemlock as a form of death penalty. This flower contains 8 piperdinic alkaloids but only two of them, that is-gamma coniceine and coiine, seems abundant and accounts for most toxicity which are harmful. All the parts of the plant are toxic but once the flower dies, the poison is reduced to some extent. Excessive amount of coiine can lead to respiratory collapse and death by blocking the neuromuscular, resulting in paralysis. The brain and the heart, due to lack of oxygen, starts to wreck. Consuming 100mg of 6 to 8 leaves can prove fatal.
Milkweed is popularly known as Asclepias, a perennial dicotyledonous plant having 140 species. The name Milkweed was placed as it extracts a milky substance which consists of latex containing alkaloids and cardenoloids. Most of its species are highly toxic to both human and animals. No doubt, many people use its sap as a remedy for the treatment of the poison Ivy. When it’s consumed directly by animals, it may cause them mild dermatitis or death. One interesting fact about milkweeds is that they use three defence mechanisms to narrow damages caused to them by caterpillars: hair on the leave, cardenoloide toxins and latex fluids. In South America and Africa, people used poison-tipped arrows with glycosides for hunting animals.
Ranunculus is also known as buttercups, spearworts, water crowfoots and the lesser celandine. They are usually of various colours which also includes red, orange, yellow and white. This plant makes itself a source of food for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Hebrew Character and Small Angle Shades. It is also an ornamental flower owing to its different shades of beautiful colours. The ranunculus species are mostly poisonous for both man and animal. Poisoning occurs where buttercups are grazed abundantly in the fields, leaving a little of the edible plants. This is when the animals start eating them as a result of hunger and desperation. Bloody diarrhea, excessive salivation, colic and severe blistering of the mucous membrane along with gastrointestinal tract are some of the symptoms of poisoning.
It is a flower which has 9 different variations. Datura is also commonly known as Witches’ Weeds since its popular use lies in the making of love potions and witches’ brews. They are also known as moonflowers. It is distributed all over the US and Mexico. Almost all the parts of the plant are toxic that contains lethal tropane alkaliods and hallucinogens, causing delirious states and deaths. Due to the presence of toxic substance, it has been used as poison for years now. Many people use it to commit suicide. The toxic level varies according to its age and weather conditions. Consumption of this flower can cause vomiting, violent behaviour, severe mydriasis with painful photophobia followed by amnesia.
5. Atropa Bella donna-
Atropa bella donna is also known as the Deadly Night Shade. It is a perennial herbaceous plant found in Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. The flowers contain small berries that are highly poisonous containing tropane alkaloids. Scopolamine and hyoscyamine are the two toxins which causes delirium and hallucinations. Some people used it as an anesthetic for performing surgeries but the ancient Romans used it as a poison and was also used to make arrows with poison-tipped. The name bella donna was derived from Italian, meaning “ beautiful women” since the herb was used as an eye drop by them to make them look seductive. The berries of the plant, if taken at a count of 10 to 20 along with a single leaf can cause death. People will have dilated pupils, sensitive to light, will have blurred vision, slow or fast pulse, loss of balance, urinary retention and convulsions.
Aconitum are popularly known as the queen of poison, aconite, monkshood, wolf’s bane, leopard’s bane, devil’s helmet and to name a few. It contains Nepalese poison which is high on alkaloid pseudaconitine, a deadly toxin. It is highly poisonous and the toxin extracted from the plant was used by the Minaro, Chinese as well as the Japanese Ainee tribes to kill wolves and hence the name, wolf’s bane. They used to apply toxin at the head of the arrow for the purpose of hunting and warfare. The root of Aconitum luridum, of the Himalayas, is said to be poisonous as that of Aconitum ferox or napellus, two kinds of toxins. The consumption of aconitine toxin could cause paralysis of the numbs, nerves resulted in anesthetic effect in the skin and even yield in to slow pulse and heart palpitations including high blood pressure. However, small dose of it are used for medicinal purposes.
3. Nerium Oleander-
Nerium Oleander contains chronic toxins in all of its parts, especially its sap. These toxins include oleandrin and neriine. It’s the only species classified under the genus Nerium. It is widely known as oleander since it resembles Olive. This plant is cultivated widely among so may regions. Oleander is considered to be the official flower of the city of Hiroshima as it was the first flower to bloom after the atomic blast in 1945. Thought the flower is used for ornamental purposes considering its beauty, one must keep it in mind that it has been historically considered as one of the most poisonous plant because if its toxic compounds. If ingested, it can cause cardiac glycosides, dermatitis and even death.
2. Autumn Crocus-
A flower so pretty, but deadly poisonous. Autumn crocus, also known as Colchicum autumnale or naked lady resembles true crocuses. This species is mostly cultivates in temperate areas. The flower of this plant contains a powerful drug called colchicines that if taken, may cause heart attack. Colchicine is also used as a useful drug with less therapeutic index to treat gout and familial Mediterranean fever and also certain types of cancer. Ramsons was earlier mistaken for colchicum which sort of looked alike but colchicum are severely poisonous due to their colchicine content. They are being of serious concern now by the botanists for the fear of getting endangered.
Opium is used for various purposes but its vast use can be seen in producing heroine. So, opium is known as the famous drug, heroine. The plant is grown in many parts of the world and has been on continuation since years. Opium is also called poppy tears and it is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy. The flower has a toxic content called alkaloid that gets processed into making drugs (heroine). The latex of this plant is most dangerous because this latex includes alkaloid codeine and thebaine. It also contains morphine and non-analgesic alkaloids such as papaverine and noscapine. When it’s taken internally, it can cause severe respiratory problems, coma, cardiac or lungs collapse. The normal lethal dose of 120-250 mg which is usually found in 2 gms of opium and its high dose could lead to drug tolerance or physical dependence. Some people use opium as a drug to fight insomnia. The heroine that is produced is seen to be injected by people through an intravenous injection and they even inhale the vaporised heroine.