Manataka American Indian Council

 

 

 

 

 

POISON PLANTS

AND WARNINGS

 

POINTS TO REMEMBER
If you have not positively identified a plant and its origin.  DO NOT EAT or use it in any way.   Make certain branches used as skewers during outdoor cookouts are not  from a poisonous tree or shrub.

Make certain the plants you use are not deadly look-alikes.


Do not assume because an animal eats a plant that it is fit for human consumption.

Cooking does not always detoxify a poisonous plant.

Store poisonous plants in a secure location out of the reach of children.

Teach children to keep flowers, seeds, berries and leaves out of their mouths.

IF POISONING OCCURS
Immediately call a doctor, hospital or poison control center.

Report the name of the plant, amount and part of the plant digested, the time the poison was ingested and save the plant.

If a doctor is
NOT
available:

Have the victim drink plenty of water.

IF victim is conscious and NOT convulsing:

Induce vomiting by tickling the back of the throat with a blunt instrument like a finger or spoon.

If vomiting cannot be induced by stimulation, have the victim drink soapy water, saltwater or Syrup of Ipecac.  Get Syrup of Ipecac from most pharmacies. Keep in your medicine cabinet or kit at all times.  Adult: 2 tablespoons  Child:  1 tablespoon   Infant:  2 teaspoons

Keep victim comfortable and administer artificial respiration if necessary.

Take the victim and the plant to nearest medical facility.

POISON PLANTS

APPLES

Apple seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides. If you eat enough of the seeds, you could very well die.

 

ANGEL'S TRUMPET

All parts of these plants contain dangerous levels of poison. People sometimes die trying to create recreational drugs from the plant.

 

CASTOR BEANS

One castor bean contains enough ricin to kill an adult within a few minutes.

 

DAFFODILS

Daffodils are deer- and vermin-resistant, and no wonder -- they have a poisonous numbing effect.

 

DOLLS'S EYE

The fruit of a doll's eye plant contain cardiogenic toxins that can lead to cardiac arrest and death.

 

GROUND CHERRY    (JAPANESE LANTERN)     (CHINESE LANTERN)
These ornamental plants grow low to the ground with many branches.  The leaves and unripe fruit are poison.

HEMLOCK

All parts of the plant contain the alkaloid coniine, which causes stomach pains, vomiting and progressive paralysis of the central nervous system.

HOLLY
The berries of these ornamental plants are poison and especially dangerous for small children.  Symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
 
HORSE CHESTNUT     (BUCKEYE)

All parts of this common shade tree and shrub are poison and may be fatal.  Symptoms: Twitching, weakness, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor.  Can be fatal.

HYDRANGEA
Large flower clusters grow on this deciduous shrub of vines.  The leaves, branches and buds are poison.  Symptoms:  Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, staggering, convulsions and death.

IRIS     (FLAG)

This very popular garden or wild perennial produces leaves and rhizomes that are poison.  Symptoms: Severe but not serious stomach upset.  The root causes dermatitis.

JIMSONWEED (THORNAPPLE) (JAMESTOWN WEED)     (STINKWEED)
All parts of these common annual weeds are poison, especially seeds and leaves.  Symptoms: Abnormal thirst, dilated pupils, nausea, hallucinations, convulsions, rapid pulse, high blood pressure, coma.  Leaves and flowers cause dermatitis.

JUNIPER     (RED CEDAR)
The leaves of these very common evergreen trees can cause skin irritation.

LADY'S SLIPPER
Found in forests, and wooded orchards, the leaves and stems cause skin irritation.

LATANA     (RED SAGE)
All parts of this fruit bearing  southern perennial ornamental shrub are poisonous.  Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, muscular weakness, rapid heartbeat, circulatory collapse, kidney damage and difficulty in breathing.

LILY OF THE VALLEY
Most parts of this very fragrant blooming perennial are poison, including roots, leaves, flowers and berries.  Symptoms: Large amounts can cause mental confusion, circulatory collapse, and death.

LUPINE    (BLUEBONNET)
All parts of this herbaceous perennial and annuals are poisonous, especially the unripe seeds.  Symptoms: Labored breathing, convulsions and coma.

MAYAPPLE     (MANDRAKE)
The green fruit, roots and foliage of this herbaceous perennial are poisonous.  Symptoms:  Vomiting and diarrhea.  The fruit of this plant is edible.

MILKWEED
This erect, coarse perennial plant is found in fields and damp roadside areas.  Its leaves, stems and sap are poison.  Symptoms:  Stomach upset.  Could be dangerous to children if eaten in quantity.  The immature seed pod  of some species is edible if cooked.

MISTLETOE
Found in many types of trees, the berries of this woody, semi-parasitic evergreen are poisonous.  Symptoms:  Acute stomach and intestinal irritation, diarrhea and slow pulse.  Can be fatal.

MONKSHOOD     (ACONITE)     (WOLFSBANE)
All parts of these pretty perennial wildflowers are poison, especially the root, and seeds.   Symptoms:  Vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, spasms, respiratory paralysis and convulsions.  Can be fatal.

MORNING GLORY
This colorful vine is a common ornamental plant with seeds that are poisonous.  Seeds have a hallucinogenic effect.  Symptoms:  Digestive upset, stupor, coma and death.

NARCISSUS     (DAFFODIL)    (JONQUIL)
All parts of these very common perennial garden flowers are poisonous, especially the bulbs.  One bulb can cause death.  Symptoms:  Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.  Severe cases result in stupor, convulsions and possible death.
 
NETTLE     (STINGING NETTLE)
Great care must be taken when harvesting these tall annual or perennial bristle weeds for cooking.  The nettle hairs cause severe itching, burning and skin inflammation.

NIGHTSHADE     (BLACK NIGHTSHADE)     (DEADLY NIGHTSHADE)
All parts of this woody shrub-like plant are poisonous, especially the unripe berries.  Symptoms:  Dilated pupils, Intense digestive upset, rapid heartbeat, depression of the central nervous system and may be fatal.

OLEANDER
All pats of this ornamental evergreen tree or shrub are poisonous, especially the fruit. Symptoms:  Dilated pupils, digestive upset, bloody diarrhea, weak pulse, dizziness, drowsiness, paralysis of the lungs, coma and death.
 
PHEASANT'S EYE     (SPRING ADONIS)
This very common perennial ornamental plant produces leaves and stems that are poisonous.   Symptoms: Stomach upset, nervousness and depression.  Can be fatal if consumed in large quantities.

POISON HEMLOCK
All parts of this tall biennial, carrot or parsley look-alike plant are poisonous, especially the seeds and roots.   Symptoms:  Dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, trembling, slow pulse, respiratory failure, coma and death.

POISON IVY     (POISON OAK)     POISON SUMAC
All parts of these are very common woody vines, shrubs or trees are poison, especially the leaves.   Smoke from burning these plants can  cause poisoning.  Symptoms:  Itching, skin rash.   Can be fatal if ingested.

POKE     (POKEWEED)  (INKBERRY)
The cooked  young shoots of this plant are edible, but the raw leaves and berries can cause a severe reaction.   Symptoms:  Stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hard breathing, weakness, spasms, convulsions and death.

POPPY     (POPPY OPIUM)     (ORNAMENTAL POPPY)

All parts of this popular erect annual herb are poisonous.  The unripe fruit causes stupor, shallow breath and coma.  Other parts cause digestive upset and nervous tics.

POTATO     (IRISH POTATO)     (WHITE POTATO)
As a common garden vegetable, the sprouts, leaves, shoots and green tubers are poisonous.  Symptoms:   Dilated pupils, digestive upset, numbness, paralysis, circulatory and respiratory depression.   Can be fatal.

PRIVET     (PRIM)
All parts of this common ornamental hedge or shrub are poisonous.  Symptoms:  Severe digestive upset, weak blood pressure, possible kidney damage. Can be fatal.

RHODODENDRON     (AZALEA)    (LAUREL)
All parts of this wood evergreen and deciduous shrub are poisonous, especially the foliage.  Symptoms:  Increased saliva and nasal discharge, digestive upset, depression of t he heart and nervous system, paralysis, and stupor.  May  be fatal.

RHUBARB
Grown for its edible leave stock, the leaves and roots of this perennial garden plant are poison.  Symptoms:  Burning and irritation of the mouth and tongue. May be fatal if the tongue and throat swell blocking air passage.   Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting.

ROSARY PEA    (PRECATORY BEAN)   (JEQUIRITY BEAN)   (INDIAN LICORICE)
These woody perennial vines produce colorful seeds used for making jewelry and decorations.   The seeds are poisonous.  Symptoms:  nausea, weakness, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, cold sweats, drowsiness, circulatory and respiratory failure, coma and death.  One single seed can be fatal.

ST. JOHN'S WORT
This plant is often used as medicinal herb but the leaves are poisonous and can cause skin irritation and severe symptoms if ate.

SCOTCHBROOM
The seeds of this brushy type deciduous shrub are poison and effect the central nervous system causing nervousness, excitability and stomach upset.

SPURGE     (POINSETTIA)     (SNOW-ON-THE-MOUNTAIN)
The milky sap of the leaves and stems of numerous varieties of this herb or shrub causing severe blistering and burning of the eyes and skin.  Ingestion may result in acute irritation of the mouth, throat and stomach.  Can be fatal.

STINGING TREE

This plant is the deadliest and most potent stinging nettle in the world. The nettles contain a potent toxin that has been known to kill humans.

SWEET PEA
The seeds of this common annual are poison.  They can cause bone deformation, paralysis, shallow breathing and convulsions.  Can be fatal in large amounts.

TOMATO
The vines and leaves of this common plant are poison.  Symptoms: Stomach upset, nervous and cardiac depression and dermatitis.  Fatal in large amounts.

WHITE SNAKEROOT

White snakeroot contains the toxin tremetol. Abraham Lincoln's mother reportedly died after swallowing snakeroot-contaminated milk.

WISTERIA
The seed pods of this common ornamental tree or shrub are poison.  Symptoms:  Digestive upset.  Children may be poisoned by one seed.

YELLOW JASMINE     (CAROLINA JASMINE)

All parts of this popular tall, woody evergreen vine are poisonous.  Symptoms:  Profuse sweating, muscular weakness, shallow breathing, depression, convulsions and paralysis.   Can be fatal.   The leaves, flowers and roots can cause dermatitis.

 

EUROPEAN YEW

Nearly all parts of this tree are poisonous. The leaves and the seeds contain a poison called taxanes.


    (GROUND HEMLOCK)
Even though the berry pulp is edible, all other parts of this evergreen tree or shrub are poison, especially the seeds.  Symptoms: Dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, labored breathing, convulsions and coma.  It can be fatal if taken in quantities.

 

CREDITS:

Indian Medicine Sources:
Millspaugh, Charles F. American Medicinal Plants. NY: Dover Publications, 1974.
Mooney, James. Myths of the Cherokee and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees.
Nashville TN: Charles and Randy Elders, Publishers, 1982.
Moore, Lee Standing Bear, Indian Remedies. Hot Springs, AR, 1990.
Weiner, Michael. Earth Medicine Earth Food. NY: Fawcett Columbine, 1980.

 


The Origin of Medicine  Indian Remedies
Herbs and Pregnancy  Cherokee Plant Lore
Bear's One Time Cure....  Poison Plants

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