Flowers are considered to be one of the most beautiful creations on earth. Flowers are always related to something cheerful, bright or jovial. But did you know that among these beautiful flowers there are a plethora of deadly, poisonous flowers as well. And some within these deadly types can even cause death. Well, if you aren’t aware of these toxic beauties then here’s a list of 10 deadliest flowers in the world:
Papaver somnifera popularly the opium poppy, is a plant from which opium and poppy seeds are derived. Opium as we know is the source of many narcotics, including morphine, noscapine, codeine etc. The Latin botanical name means the “sleep-bringing poppy”, referring to the sedative properties of some of these opiates. The latex from plants caused respiratory difficulties, coma, cardiac or respiratory collapse with a normal lethal dose of 120 to 250 mg found in approximately two grams of opium. Regular use can lead to drug tolerance or physical dependence. Poppy poisoning is marked by erratic behavior, loss of appetite, stupor, and coma. Overdoses of opium or its derivatives cause death by respiratory failure. Stupor, coma, shallow and slow breathing, respiratory and circulatory depression are the other effects of opium.
Daphne also called Lady Laurel or Paradise Plant is a deciduous shrub, growing to 1.5m tall, and belongs to the Thymelaeaceae family. The Daphne mezereum species is the most dangerous and poisonous. All parts of this popular ornamental shrub are poisonous, especially the attractive berries. Daphne mezereum is toxic mostly because of the compounds mezerein and daphnin present in the berries and the twigs. These toxins cause stomach aches, headaches, diarrhea, delirium and convulsions. When poisoned the victims experience a choking sensation. The sap causes eczema and skin irritation resulting in redness of the skin.
Digitalis is a plant with as many as twenty species. It is also known as foxglove, dead men’s bells, fairy fingers, finger flower, lion’s mouth, ladies’ glove etc. Depending on the species, the digitalis plant may contain several deadly physiological and chemically related cardiac and steroidal glycosides called digitoxin, digitalin, digitonin, digitalosmin, gitoxin and gitalonin. During digestion these produce aglycones and a sugar. The aglycones directly affect the heart muscles. All parts of the plant are toxic but the leaves of the upper stem are the most dangerous. One bite of the leaves can lead to death. Poisoning symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, wild hallucinations, delirium, severe headache, tremors, convulsions, and disruptions of the functions of the heart.
Conium is a highly poisonous perennial herbaceous flowering plant and can be found in Europe and the Mediterranean region. It is popularly known as hemlock (especially the Conium maculatum species). Conium is acutely toxic to people and animals, with symptoms appearing 20 minutes to three hours after ingestion. All parts of the plant are poisonous and even the dead canes remain toxic for up to three years. Ingestion of this even in small amount can result in respiratory collapse and death. The typical symptoms for humans include dilation of the pupils, dizziness, and trembling followed by slowing of the heartbeat, paralysis of the central nervous system, muscle paralysis, and death due to respiratory failure. For animals, symptoms include nervous trembling, salivation, lack of coordination, pupil dilation, rapid weak pulse, respiratory paralysis, coma, and sometimes death. Conium contains the piperidine alkaloids coniine, conhydrine, N-methylconiine, pseudoconhydrine and gamma-coniceine, which is the precursor of the other hemlock alkaloids. For both people and animals, quick treatment can reverse the harm and typically there aren’t noticeable after effects.
Datura is a flowering plant belonging to the family Solanaceae. It is also known as moon flowers, witches’ weeds, thorn apple and jimsonweed. It has nine different variations, and can be found in the US and Mexico in North America, and Tunisia in Africa, where the highest species diversity occurs. All nine species of Datura have alkaloids that are quite lethal. In fact, they have been used for hundreds of years as a hallucinogen and poison. The main effects include confusion, delirium and hallucinations are the principal effects with drowsiness, sleep or coma generally following, dilation of the pupils, agitation and convulsions, muscle weakness, memory loss. Datura has been used for centuries in some cultures as a poison. In certain places, it is prohibited to buy, sell, or cultivate Datura plants.
05. Lily of the valley
Lily of the valley is a sweetly scented but highly toxic woodland flowering plant. This can be found mainly in the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe and in the southern Appalachian Mountains in the US. These tiny little, white, bell-shaped flowers are not only beautiful in appearance but also equally poisonous. All parts including the berries are highly poisonous. The plant contains three glycosides; convallarin, convallamarin, and convallotoxin. Convallotoxin is one of the most active natural substances affecting the heart. It causes irregular, slow pulse rates and can cause heart failure. In addition, the plant contains saponins which cause gastrointestinal poisoning.
04. Atropa Belladonna
Atropa Belladonna is a perennial herbaceous plant in the family Solanaceae, native to Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. It is commonly known as Belladonna, Deadly Nightshade, Dead Cherries and Devil’s Berries. Named after Atropos, one of the 3 Fates, who held the shears which could cut the thread of life this plant called ‘Atropa’ can end the lives as well. The berries, foliage and the roots are immensely toxic in nature and contain tropane alkaloids. Symptoms of belladonna poisoning include dryness in the mouth, thirst, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, blurred vision from the dilated pupils, vomiting, excessive stimulation of the heart, drowsiness, slurred speech, hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, delirium, and agitation. Coma and convulsions often precede death. Symptoms may be slow to appear but last for several days.
03. Nerium Oleander
Nerium Oleander is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the dogbane family Apocynaceae, toxic in all its parts. It is commonly called oleander as it superficially resembles olive olea. Oleander is one of the most poisonous of commonly grown garden plants. Consumption of this plant can affect the heart, the gastrointestinal system and the central nervous system. It causes abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, excess salivation, visual disturbances, rapid pulse and heart malfunction causing death. The sap if in contact with the skin can cause blistering, severe eye inflammation and irritation, skin irritations, and allergic reactions.
02. Autumn crocus
Autumn crocus is a popular garden plant due to its unusual growth cycle but a genuine killer with a number of well-documented cases of accidental poisoning to its credit. It is known by several other names like Colchicum autumnale, meadow saffron, naked lady, naked boy and son-before-the-father. Colchicum plants have been mistaken by foragers for ramsons,a type of garlic, which they vaguely resemble, but are deadly poisonous due to their colchicines content. The symptoms of colchicines poisoning resemble those of arsenic, and has no antidote. Autumn Crocus poisoning leads to reduced blood pressure and cardiac arrest. It can cause burning of the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea, liver and kidney problems, blood disorders, nerve problems, shock, organ failure, and death.
Aconitum is an herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the family Ranunculaceae. The name comes from the Greek word “akónitos”, which means “without struggle”. And according to Theophrastus, the name comes from the village of Akonai which was part of the land occupied by the Mariandynoi people. It is known by sundry other names like wolf’s bane, monkshood, aconite, women’s bane, leopard’s bane, devil’s helmet or blue rocket. It got its name wolf’s bane due to the reason that, toxins extracted from the plant were historically used to kill wolves. It has been used to make the pointed edges of arrows and also have been used in hunting and in warfare. The main toxin aconitine, present in it, when ingested of even a small amount results in severe gastrointestinal upset and causes slowing of the heart rate, which is often causes death. It also causes severe side effects such as nausea, vomiting, sweating, breathing problems, weakness, and heart problems.