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Poisonous Plants

Jenny_AsterJenny_Aster Posts: 433
Don't know whether it's because I'm getting old [er] that I'm getting more aware of the dangers in life, presently I'm looking at seedlings that I've grown this year, borage and foxgloves and I'm concerned now, even worried, about their toxicity. The bulbs of lily-of-the-valley I planted are doing nicely, but now I've read they're highly toxic. In the distant past I've declined to grow forsythia but apparently it turns out it's not so poisonous as I once thought. 

Perhaps all plants are poisonous though and yet could prove beneficial in the future. Mind... no one can persuade me to grow hogweed, but what's the betting scientists are at this moment analysing its poison for the benefit of future medicines.

Personally I think I owe my life to the 'poisonous' Taxus Baccata, the Yew tree - I helped trial the chemo drug Taxotere a couple of decades ago for breast cancer - the trial must have been a success cos I'm still here ;)
Trying to be the person my dog thinks I am! 
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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,404
    Many medicines are derived from all kinds of plants - digitalis [foxgloves] are a good example, as well as the yew you mention   :)
    Most 'poisonous' plants are only a danger if you decide to start eating them on a regular basis though. 
    I'll stick to my porridge for breakfast  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Jenny_AsterJenny_Aster Posts: 433
    It's my old dog I'm worrying about, he likes to self-medicate on grass (dog owners will know what I mean)! Just hope he doesn't make a mistake one day.

    Did read something once about dairy cows being 'addicted' to foxgloves, the foxgloves made them sleepy. Searching through Google for 'digitalism' it's full of references to a German musical duo! :/

    Has anyone had a poisoning problem with a plant they've grown?
    Trying to be the person my dog thinks I am! 
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 3,618
    Cue the poisonous courgette imbroglio!

    My neighbour is a vet. Apart from lily pollen problems on two or three occasions she has never once treated a cat made ill from eating a garden plant and dogs have been boisterous, hungry puppies who came to little harm.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,216
    I think it is important that we grow as many different plants as we can in our gardens. So many plants are toxic in some way, the one plant I would avoid is Aconitum. 

    Plant Heritage do so much work growing the plants that most of us don't see as garden worthy. These plants could be useful to us in the future for medicine.
  • Jenny_AsterJenny_Aster Posts: 433
    BenCotto said:
    Cue the poisonous courgette imbroglio!

    My neighbour is a vet. Apart from lily pollen problems on two or three occasions she has never once treated a cat made ill from eating a garden plant and dogs have been boisterous, hungry puppies who came to little harm.
    Didn't know that about courgettes, I suppose it's the same with potatoes that have gone green/sprouted, or if too many carrots are eaten.

    Thanks for mentioning your vet neighbour, we should give more credit to animals, they've the 'noses' to help them.

    I think it is important that we grow as many different plants as we can in our gardens. So many plants are toxic in some way, the one plant I would avoid is Aconitum. 

    Plant Heritage do so much work growing the plants that most of us don't see as garden worthy. These plants could be useful to us in the future for medicine.
    This was the point I was trying to make, you put it way better than I did.

    'Old wives' in days long gone knew!


    Trying to be the person my dog thinks I am! 
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,346
    Aconitum are wonderful plants, don't avoid them, just be sensible. If you wash your hands after dealing with them, you will be fine.
    IMO, people get far too hung up about poisonous plants.
    He calls her the chocolate girl
    Cause he thinks she melts when he touches her
    She knows she's the chocolate girl
    Cause she's broken up and swallowed
    And wrapped in bits of silver
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,216
    Aconitum is one plant that you must not have any contact with your skin? 
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 6,449
    Many plants have potentially poisonous leaves, fruit or roots but the vast majority are only dangerous if consumed in large quantities.  Most animals, with the possible exception of inquisitive puppies seem to have an inbuilt knowledge of what to avoid.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,004
    I've had 2 different varieties of Aconite for ages and never had a problem. I'm sure I must have touched them at some point, though I do mostly wear gloves.  I value them for their height and blue flowers, the fact they'll grow in shade and the slugs don't like them. I love delphiniums too, but they are much trickier.
    I've had Oleanders for years too and removed dead leaves and treated them for scale insect bare handed, long before I read on here that they are 'extremely toxic'. If you haven't got open wounds and don't damage the leaves to release the sap I would think the danger is minimal.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,623
    Given how long the planet has been growing plants and how much less time the human race has been around but how successful it has been in reproducing itself I do think it's irrational to get hung up about potentially poisonous plants in the garden.  Applying common sense will keep you safe.

    Wear gloves to handle aconitum if you have chapped or broken skin but otherwise just wash your hands afterwards.  I've grown them for decades with no problems.

    Wear gloves and long sleeves to handle euphorbia as the sap can irritate the skin and damage eyes, especially in sunlight.

    Don't eat any berries or seeds or leaves or fruits you do not know to be edible and don't take risks with mushrooms you may find in the garden or woods unless you are an expert at identification.

    Teach children the same rules.   Don't grow lilies where cats can brush against the pollen and that includes cut lilies in vases.



    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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