Familiar garden plants harbor poisons in their hearts.
Simple, sweet autumn crocuses (photo above) contain a poison similar to arsenic.
Oleanders have a fragrance like fine perfume, but all varieties, and all parts of it are toxic. Heart-stoppingly toxic.
We love the colors and fragrance of sweet peas – not to be mistaken for edible peas you can grow for food. These lovely charmers contain a neurotoxin, so beware.
They are pretty and home-like, with their nodding heads of white and yellow, but the bulbs and leaves of all daffodils contain lycorine, an alkaloid poison.
So should I yank up all these flowers in my garden?
Not necessary. You can grow these, and other beautiful-but-deadly plants without losing sleep if you follow these common-sense guidelines:
- Be suspicious. Never eat a seed, leaf or flower that you don’t know 100%. Even edible seeds may have been treated with fungicide.
- Store seeds and bulbs out of the reach of children.
- Some plants, like the very poisonous yew berry, are juicy-looking and attractive. Teach your kids to recognize toxic plants growing around your neighborhood. Educate them never to eat strange plants.
- If you suspect poisoning, get medical help immediately – don’t wait.
Autumn Crocus by epicnom via Flickr
White Oleanders by Cobalt123 via Flickr
Sweet peas by Pesotum74 via Flickr
White and Orange Daffodils by Martin LaBar via Flickr
More thought-provoking Green Prophet posts on plants and health: