Plants are typically associated with beauty and life, but nature also conceals some of the most lethal botanical specimens on the planet. In this article, we present the top 12 deadliest plants in the world, complete with pictures, shedding light on their toxic properties and the potential dangers they pose.
Though just two organisms, they are of innumerable species and virtually uncountable with some having gone into extinction and new species being discovered. There’s also the introduction of new breeds and species through scientific process of cross-breeding. Just as we have animals belonging to animal families, there are also plant families.
While some of the animal families sound familiar; it is quite complicated when it comes to plants families. However, it is important to note based on the above, that for a plant or animal to be grouped under a family presupposes that the plant or animal belong to a group of specie with a common feature or characteristics such as eating behavior, common reproductive organs and process or pattern, common physical appearance, common behavioral pattern, common habitat and lots more.
It is of great interest to understand that, just as was outlined above, some of these plants are of different categories. Some are considered medicinal while some are consumables for herbivorous animals and food for humans. Good example of edible plants are, rice, wheat, corn, oat and many others. On the other hand, some of the plants are considered very harmful and poisonous. They are capable of inflicting harm on another plants, the environment and even animals.
In the course of this article, we will be taking a look at some of plants that are considered harmful and dangerous to the environment and other living things around it.
Top 12 Deadliest/Most Dangerous Plants in The World
1. POISON HEMLOCK: Conium maculatum which is relatively known as hemlock, wild hemlock or even poison hemlock is a plant highly poisonous biennial flowering plant in the carrot family Apiaceae. The poison hemlock is known to be native to Europe and North Africa.
The plant is quite tough and capable of living in different environmental conditions where it spreads and consequently becomes an invasive weed. It is one of the world most dangerous plants.
2. PONG-PONG TREE: The pong-pong tree is a dicotyledonous angiosperm which is a plant species in the family Apocynaceae. Apart from being known as the pong-pong tree, it is also known as the suicide tree, mintolla, or othalam.
The fruit is known as othalanga and is known to produce a potent poison that has been used for murder and suicide at some point. It is known to be native to India and other parts of southern Asia, it remains one of the most dangerous plants in the world.
3. JIMSON WEED: Also known as thorn apple and devil’s snare, is a species of flowering plant known to have originated from Central America and introduced in many other part of the world. Very aggressive and invasive weed that grows in temperate climates across the world.
The plant is highly unpleasant, and often results in a prolonged disorientation or delirium with a probable severe consequences.
4. DEADLY NIGHTSHADE: The Atropa belladonna which is also known as belladonna or deadly nightshade, is a common toxic perennial herbaceous plant. It is a member of the nightshade family Solanaceae. Other plants under this family includes, potatoes, eggplant and tomatoes.
The plant is recorded to be native to Western Asia, North Africa and the European Continent. The foliage and berries of the Deadly Nightshade are extremely toxic when ingested because they contain tropane alkaloids. Most of the toxins contained by the plant are known to cause delirium and hallucinations making it one of the most dangerous plants in the world with unpredictable effects.
5. WHITE SNAKEROOT: Ageratina altissima commonly known as white snakeroot, white sanicle or richweed is one of the most dangerous plants in the world. The poisonous perennial herb is native to eastern and central North America. White Snakeroot is also another plant that is part of the family Asteraceae.
White snakeroot are very poisonous as they contain toxin tremetol; it makes the meat and milk of cattle to become contaminated, when they eat the plant, with the toxin which is further transferred to any human that consumes the meat or milk of the infected cattle. The contamination or poisoning by the plant is also known as milk sickness, due to the fact that most often, it is gotten by humans from the milk the consume which had been produced by an infected cattle.
6. CASTOR BEAN: castor bean is not a beans despite its name. The plant is indigenous to the Eastern Africa, the southeastern Mediterranean Basin, as well as India, however, it is widespread throughout tropical regions. The Castor seed is the source of castor oil and has been used for so many things. With about 40% to 60% of oil contained in the seed, the oil is rich in triglycerides, mainly ricinolein.
The plant has been discovered to be a very strong trigger for asthma. With an abundant amounts of very light pollen contained and produced by the Castor oil, it is considered airborne and capable of being inhaled into the lungs in which case, triggering allergic reactions. Apart from the oil, the sap of the plant causes skin rashes as well. As a matter of fact; the Guinness World Records in 2017 considered the plant as the world’s most poisonous common plant. Do, it is established that the Castor Beans is one of the most dangerous plants in the world.
7. ROSARY PEA: Best known for its seeds. The seeds are mostly used as beads and in percussion instruments and because of the presence of abrin, they are very toxic. It has been established that the ingestion of a single seed that is well chewed, can be critical and fatal to both adults and children.
The Asian and Australian native plant has a tendency to become weedy and invasive wherever it found itself. The herbaceous flowering plant is a part of the bean family Fabaceae and considered one of the most dangerous plants in the world.
8. OLEANDER: The Oleander has been shown to be associated with the Mediterranean Basin. It is popularly known as oleander or nerium. It is a small tree that is commonly cultivated worldwide in areas that are temperate and subtropical. They are also known to be cultivated as landscaping and ornamental plants. It is known to contain lots of toxic compounds thereby making it a poisonous plant. This has been the case over the years. The catastrophic effects of eating the plant is quite minimal due to the unpleasant taste to both humans and animals alike.
However, if ingested in substantial quantity, it may cause severe abdominal pain, excessive salivating, nausea irregular heartbeat, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. It is one of the most dangerous plants in the world.
9. TOBACCO: Tobacco is a common plant and very familiar in many regions especially Africa and some part of Europe. Tobacco is a common name for several plants belonging to the genus Nicotiana which is of the family Solanaceae. With over 70 known tobacco species, the most commercial is N. tabacum. Tobacco is considered dangerous because it contains a highly addictive stimulant alkaloid nicotine and harmala alkaloids.
The use of tobacco remains the major cause and risk factor for many deadly diseases such as cancer, as well as those affecting the heart, lungs and even the liver. According to the World Health Organization report in 2008, tobacco remains the world’s single greatest preventable cause of death and so is considered one of the most dangerous plants in the world.
10. VULGAR DRACUNCULUS: The Vulgar Dracunculus is characterized by a large purple spathe and spadix. The plant has a quite disgusting smell that is very unpleasant because it smells like rotting meat. It is endemic to the Balkans, the Greece, Aegean Islands, the Crete as well as the south-western parts of Anatolia.
11. Lily-Of-The-Valley (Convallaria majalis): The lovely Lily-Of-The-Valley, is a very expensive plant flowery plant which is exclusively known for its delicate perfume and symbolism of love and happiness which is in fact highly toxic. This flower is a traditional gift which is given in springs to family members on the 1st of May, however, it is beautiful and poisonous. Not only is this flower poisonous, its fruit, (the red berries of the flowers) may be very fatal if eaten too.
Regardless of its poisonous state, just like many other plants in its category, the flower has been used and is still used for folk medicine for centuries, its uses ranges from a supposed treatment for gout to curing muteness. However, it has not been scientifically proven that this plant can cure any human disease, it is only used traditionally to cure.
12. Manchineel (Hippomane mancinella): The poisonous state of this plant was so relevant that it reflected in its Spanish name manzanilla de la muerte which translates to mean, “little apple of death”. The Plants of manchineel or death apple (Hippomane mancinella) is located in the US Virgin Islands. They are found in the tropical parts of the United States and is known as the most dangerous tree in the world and this is for a reason. One of the reason for earning this title is because every part of the tree, from the bark to the sap to the root and leaves are very poisonous.
The fruits of this plants which are the most likely part to be consumed are ironically the most dangerous part of the plant. Just a tiny bite of some small green crabapple could cause you a lot of agony or possible death, (you don’t need an evil step mother for that). Another reason why it is considered the most deadly plant in the world is because, you can obtain a very serious skin injury just by standing under the tree when it is raining. The drops of rain which has washed off the sap could cause serious damages to your skin.
In conclusion, we have been able to highlight most of the world’s most dangerous plants and some of their negative effect. This is an exposition and eye opener. Before you consider touching or even consuming certain plants, make sure you know what effect it is capable producing.