Stay away from these 10 Poisonous Plants & Flowers


Date: 16-June,2021Last Updated: 26-September,2022
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According to the Greek fabulist and storyteller Aesop, "Appearances are often deceiving."

You must have awed seeing colours of certain flowers, marvelling their beauty at first glance only to realise later that they are poisonous. Though plants are always revered as either Vastu compliant or plain Lucky and considered harmless, there are a few odd ones out!

Here, we attempt to give you clarity on some of these poisonous plants so that you can stay guarded against them!

Come, let us have a look!

While we look at the bigger picture, we can see that there are many such poisonous flowers – to name a few: Wild Cherry, American Bitter Sweet, Castor Beans, Yew, Cotoneaster, Juniper, Horsenettle, Rhododendron, Holly etc... `But here, we will narrow it down to the most poisonous plants and attractive yet poisonous flowers that you can spot in India.

10 Poisonous Plants & Flowers in India:

  1. Calotropis
  2. Cerbera odollam
  3. Datura
  4. Castor Bean Plant
  5. Plumeria
  6. Dieffenbachia
  7. Alstonia scholaris
  8. Rosary Pea
  9. Cassava!
  10. Kantakari

Let's see them in detail now -

1. Calotropis:

  • They are mostly known by the name milkweed since the stems of these poisonous plants can produce thick milky juice. These can be one of the dangerous weeds in your garden.

  • Researchers have acknowledged Calotropis to be a cattle poison as well as an arrow poison. They have active contents of Calotropin, which is a toxic cardenolide found in the plant family.

  • Research case studies also indicate that these evergreen flowering plants are scenarios where milkweed is used for homicide.

2. Cerbera odollam:

  • Commonly known as the suicide tree since their seeds are considered to be extremely poisonous.

  • The fruits of these poisonous plants are reported to be used for suicide, beginning with vomiting and irregular heartbeat on its intake.

  • The main cardenolide component of the plant is cerberin, which is extremely toxic. The seeds of Cerbera Odollam are rich in cerberin.

3. Datura:

  • The white, purple or yellow Datura's might have captivated you with its charm. But do you know that it is one of the most poisonous plants we have in India? Known as devil's trumpets, it belongs to a genus of nine poisonous plants.

  • Datura has many medicinal benefits like – improving hair growth and fertility. However, internal consumption of the leaves, flowers and seeds of Datura can be toxic.

  • The toxicity in Datura is caused by the presence of alkaloids like – Hyoscyamine, Scopolamine and Atropine. It can be one of the dangerous weeds in the garden and do watch out for your pets so that they don't consume Daturas.

4. Castor Bean Plant:

  • The strongest toxic alkaloid and toxalbumin ricin concentration is found in seeds. Consumption of seeds of castor bean plants can kill people.

  • Body cells die after the intake of castor seeds since the ricin content in them prevents the manufacture of proteins.

  • Widely known for its many medicinal benefits – like the extraction of castor oil for hair growth and for fighting skin-related ailments. However, the plant is toxic, and especially the seeds need to be kept at bay.

5. Plumeria:

  • Known for its scent, the plumeria plant hits the list of poisonous plants. These flowering plants can even grow to form small trees. The sap of plumerias can cause skin rashes.

  • Also termed as Frangipani, these mildly perfumed yellow, white, pink or red flowering plants, if they accidentally touch your eyes, can cause irritation and burning.

  • Even though research studies do not significantly call out for plumeria poisoning cases, these beautiful looking yet poisonous flowers are something you should look out for!

6. Dieffenbachia:

  • An ornamental plant with its big leaves, kept in offices for décor – has poisonous leaves that you should keep away from.

  • The asparagine protein, as well as oxalate crystals present in Dieffenbachia plants, causes toxicity.

  • The intake of Dieffenbachia leaves will cause burning in your mouth because of the presence of oxalate crystals and might turn fatal.

7. Alstonia scholaris:

  • Known as Saptaparni or the Indian devil tree is known for its fragrance. This evergreen tropical tree has small greenish-white flowers and is planted ornamentally.

  • The bark of Saptaparni is used extensively to treat many ailments like heart ailments, diarrhoea and asthma.

  • That said, the plant is also known for its poisonous alkaloid content, found in its milky sap.

8. Rosary Pea:

  • Abrus precatorius or Rosary pea has an admirable cluster of red and black beans but contains a strong toxin called abrin.

  • Known by its many common names like – Lucky beans and prayer beads, these climbing plants can cause troubled breathing and problems like diarrhoea and nausea.

  • But then, rosary pea has also been used for treating many health ailments. However, high dosages of these plants can turn into a strong sedative.

9. Cassava:

  • Widely known by the name tapioca, used and cultivated in large amounts in South India. A staple ingredient and delicacy in the South, rich in carbohydrates. (commonly called kappa)

  • Raw Cassava is said to have cyanide content in it and can be extremely poisonous. The Cassava plant naturally produces some toxins like linamarin and lotaustralin.

  • Do not worry as it produces less than 50 mg and the lethal dose of cyanide needs to be more than 200 mg.

  • Therefore, proper cooking of Cassava is necessary and advised before consumption.

10. Kantakari:

  • The scientific name of Kantakari is Solanum xanthocarpum. But commonly, it is known as Indian nightshade.

  • The plant is known for its many health benefits. Say, the flowers of the plant can be used for the treatment of chest pain and asthma.

  • However, the fruits and leaves of Kantakari are acknowledged to be poisonous by many research studies.

In addition to the above-mentioned poisonous plants and dangerous weeds in the garden, there are many others. For instance, Parthenium. Another example of a plant with poisonous flowers is Nerium Oleander. The latter has a huge cluster of beautiful pink, red, yellow or white flowers that can captivate you.

At the same time, since it is extremely toxic, you should make a note to keep them at a distance from children and pets.

Even though many flowering plants can enthral you by showing off their colours, you should be wary about the potential distress it can cause to you or your near ones. So, before you plan to grow and elevate your home garden, have an eye for all of these poisonous plants! For Shakespeare once said, "All that glitters is not gold"!

With that, summing up this article on "Stay away from these 10 Poisonous Plants & Flowers ".

We hope you found the matter fruitful! Happy gardening!

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