Top 10 Most Poisonous Flowers In The World

Flowers dazzle with their exotic radiance and spread the emotion of love and joy.  With striking colors and aromatic scents, most can be mistaken to be “angelic.” However, not all blossoms are created the same. There are some dangerous beauties too. Considering this, here are ten most poisonous flowers in the world that harbor the deadliest toxins ever known.

Beautiful But Deadly: 10 Most Poisonous Flowers

Do you know how Socrates died? The famous Greek philosopher, Socrates died because he accidentally ingested the poison hemlock. His intensifying centripetal paralysis is an attribute of that poison. From ancient times to until now, poisonous flowers and plants have been responsible for many human deaths.

If you have any of these deadly flowers in the garden, you don’t have to get rid of them. Just be careful, especially when you have kids and pets around. Praise these beauties from far.

10 Lily Of The Valley

Scientific Name: Convallaria majalis

Symptoms of Poisoning: Nausea, Vomiting, Rashes, Headache, Faintness, Diarrhea, Stomach pain, Excess urination at night, Confusions, and in fatal cases – Irregular heartbeats, and Death.

Toxins: Convallarin, Convallatoxin, and Convallamarin.

Most Poisonous Flowers

Lily of the valley is one of the world’s most beautiful flowers but no one can guess the wicked effects it holds. It has a sweet fragrance and that’s why it is used as a core ingredient in many perfumes. However, every part of this plant (leaves, flowers, berries, stems, and roots) is toxic when ingested. They are reported to contain 38 cardiac glycosides, which are highly dangerous for health and should never be eaten.

Quick Facts:

  • Lily of the valley is widely seen in Northern Asia, Europe, Eastern United States, and England.
  • Even a little ingestion of any part of this plant can lead to abdominal pain, skin rashes, slow heartbeat, and death in severe cases.

Once ingested, it begins with mild symptoms like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and then the severity starts. The cardiac glycosides directly affect the heart and cause illusion, blurred vision, slow heartbeat, and death in the final stage. Luckily, the body slowly absorbs the poison. So, timely medical intervention can save the life of a person and stop further harm.

9 Poison Hemlock

Scientific Name: Conium maculatum

Symptoms of Poisoning: Vomiting, Movement Problems, Trembling, Rapid pulse, Faster respiration, Convulsions, Coma, Paralysis, and Death.

Toxins: Coniine & Piperidine alkaloids.

list of poisonous flowers

Hemlock is one of the most deadly flowers in the world. It came into limelight after the Greek philosopher ‘Socrates’ ingested it and died. Historical documents reveal that he committed suicide. Whether it was an accidental ingestion or a suicide, is still a mystery. Most sources claim that he consumed hemlock by mixing it with either tea or water.

Quick Facts:

  • Upon ingestion, hemlock starts to show its symptoms. It begins with vomiting, nausea, followed by the effects of the nervous system, which include trembling, rapid pulse rate, excess urination, body movement issues, convulsions, paralysis, coma, and finally – death.
  • The reason the nervous system shuts down after consuming hemlock is due to a neurotoxin called coniine.
  • Poison hemlocks were used in ancient Greece to execute the political prisoners.

Poison hemlocks are often mistaken for parsley, fennel, and wild carrot. However, they have dissimilarities. The plant is aptly named with the term “poison” in it. The entire plant is toxic and can kill both humans as well as animals in some time.

8 Oleander

Scientific Name: Nerium oleander

Symptoms of Poisoning: Dermatitis, Fever, Dehydration, Severe stomach upset, Blurred vision, Tremors, Slow heartbeat, and in extreme or serious cases – death.

Toxins: Saponins, Cardiac glycosides, Oleandrin, Digitoxigenin, Nerioside, and Oleondroside.

beautiful but deadly flowers

Oleander flowers are well admired for their spectacular beauty and sweet-smelling fragrance by most gardeners. They bloom in pink, white, red, and yellow. But do not be fooled by their aromatic scents and good looks.

Every part of oleander is highly toxic: the petals, the plant’s sap, and even the wood. The sap contains two noxious compounds called oleandrin & neriine. Even the smoke burn from its wood can choke a person to death if inhaled for a few minutes.

Quick Facts:

  • Its use as a poison is popularly known. According to reports, it is one of the favorite suicide agents in Sri Lanka. The country records 150 – 200 per 100,000 oleander poisoning deaths every year. Out of which 10% ingestion cases are fatal.
  • The chemicals known as glycosides in oleanders are responsible for bringing the heartbeat down.

While 15-20 leaves can kill a healthy adult, one leaf is adequate to kill a child. Within a few hours of its consumption, the toxins directly affect the central nervous system and heart, eventually causing death. In fact, there are records of many animal deaths after consuming this plant.

7 Milkweeds

Scientific Name: Calotropis gigantea

Symptoms of Poisoning: Vomiting, Diarrhea, and in severe cases – Blindness when exposed to the eyes, Convulsions, Irregular heartbeats, and even Death.

Toxins: Calotropin, Cardenolides, and other Cardiac glycosides.

Most Poisonous Flowers

Calotropis, or more commonly known as Milkweeds are known to have originated from China, Iran, Malaysia, and a few other Indian subcontinents. In olden days, Native South Americans and Africans used their poison on arrows to fight as well as hunt more efficiently.

Quick Facts:

  • They are commonly called milkweeds because they produce latex.
  • This milky exudation is well known corrosive poison.
  • When exposed to the yes, it causes severe burning and blindness.

Besides being beautiful, this is also the most poisonous flower. Both flowers and leaves ooze latex, which contains a toxin called calotropin. When this encounters the eyes, it causes complete blindness. Besides latex, milkweeds also produce cardenolides and alkaloids both of which are reported toxins to animals.

6 Cerbera

Scientific Name: Cerbera odollam

Symptoms of Poisoning: Nausea, Vomiting, Stomach Pain, Burning in the mouth, Dilated pupils, Coma, Slow heartbeat, and eventually Death.

Toxin: Cerberin (a potent cardiac glycoside).

most poisonous flower

The flowers are star-shaped and come in white colors with a tiny, yellow center. The leaves are glossy, oval, and dark green measuring about 15-30 cm in length. The immature fruit in its early stage looks like a mango.

Quick Facts:

  • Cerbera is the ideal murder weapon. The deaths due to this plant are known to occur the most in Southwestern parts of India. There are at least 500 deaths in every 10 years. This is due to a potent compound called cerberin.
  • Once ingested, the toxic glycoside – cerberin begins working in an hour. It all starts with a mild stomach pain, followed by a silent coma, and finally, the heart stops beating. All this happens in about 3-4 hours.
  • The best part is that even the chemicals are untraceable and that’s why it is frequently used as a murder weapon.

Cerbera odollam appears like oleanders and both belong to the same family. Like oleanders, even cerberas are one of the most poisonous flowers in the world. Native Indians have aptly nicknamed for the work it does — “the suicide tree or the murder tree.” This is because it encloses a strong poison, which is often used for murders or suicides.

5 Bloodroot

Scientific Name: Sanguinaria Canadensis

Symptoms of Poisoning: Nausea, Dilated pupils, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Faintness, and in severe cases – heart failure followed by death.

Toxins: Sanguarine and Benzylisoquinoline Alkaloids.

world's most poisonous flowers

Yet another most poisonous flower in the world is Sanguinaria, which is familiarly known as Bloodroot. These flowers are extensively seen in the eastern parts of North America. In olden days, Native Americans used its dark red roots to induce abortions (but in extremely small proportions). A little more of it is enough to put a human in coma.

Quick Facts:

  • Bloodroot is a well-known flowering herb, which contains dark, red juices. It mostly grows mostly in mountainous regions.
  • The thick roots (rhizomes) contain toxic isoquinoline alkaloids. These can cause heart failure and death if consumed in enough quantities.
  • If bloodroot is eaten along with other antiplatelet or anticoagulant medications, it can cause severe internal bleeding and can be highly dangerous for the life.

Recently, people have been employing bloodroot as a remedy to treat skin cancer. However, the results are horrible. That’s because it contains a harmful chemical called sanguarine. Besides being a deadly toxin, it is also an escharotic compound. Escharotics can easily kill tissues and leave behind black, dark scars called eschars. In short, applying bloodroot on the skin will only cause the cells to die.

The same effect happens internally. This chemical interrupts with the Na+/K+-ATPase, an enzyme that pumps sodium out from the cells and pumps potassium in. However, when this activity fails to occur, all the other vital bodily functions break down in some time.

4 Desert Rose

Scientific Name: Adenium obesum

Symptoms of Poisoning: Anorexia, Vomiting, and in high doses – Respiratory failure.

Toxins: Ouabain, Cardiac glycosides, and Cardioactive steroids.

toxic flowers

Though it has the term ‘rose in it, it does not look like roses. Adenium obesum, more commonly known as Desert Rose is grown both indoors and outdoors. It is known for its brightly colored flowers. However, don’t fall for these because they produce a lethal milky sap which is venomous to both pets and humans.

Quick Facts:

  • For centuries, Native African tribes used Adenium as a spear toxin. They prepared the poison by boiling the plant for at least 10-12 hours. Once the liquid evaporated, it formed a deadly concentrated poison. They used them on their spears.
  • This concentrated poison is so toxic that a bit of it from the arrows or spears can bring even the mightiest animal down. So, we can imagine the impact on humans even if ingested accidentally.
  • It causes respiratory failure within minutes in humans.

African tribes used this plant to kill big animals like elephants. It works because of a deadly compound called ouabain. When consumed in high doses, it causes instant respiratory failure. The sap of this plant contains multiple toxins like cardiac glycosides (disrupts the heart muscles) & cardioactive steroids (cause slow heartbeat).

These toxins also have a bigger effect on the enzymes, which control the bodily ions. They can interrupt the way central nervous system functions and create problems in the electrolyte levels, gastrointestinal tract, and heart.

3 Deadly Nightshade

Scientific Name: Atropa belladonna

Symptoms of Poisoning: Skin irritation, Headache, Rashes, Dilated pupils, Dry mouth, Dry throat, Delirium, Hallucinations, Confusions, Constipation, Paralysis, and Heart failure.

Toxins: Tropane alkaloids (Atropine, Hyoscyamine, and Scopolamine)

Most Poisonous Flowers In The World

With nicknames like Devil’s Berries & Deadly Nightshade, the nature of these wicked and poisonous flowers is apparent. The plant produces beautiful pink flowers with an exquisite smell. However, they contain toxins that can cause a serious cardiovascular collapse. Besides this, the berries of this plant also taste sweet but even a little of it is adequate to kill children.

Quick Facts:

  • According to legends, Macbeth’s soldiers used deadly nightshade’s fruits in the wine to poison the Danes.
  • Ingestion of just one leaf or about 10-20 berries can be deadly.

As the name implies, every part of the plant is deadly. It contains harmful poison known as tropane alkaloids. Upon ingestion, these alkaloids cause hallucinations, convulsions, difficulties in breathing, and delirium.

2 Opium Poppy

Scientific Name: Papaver somniferum

Symptoms of Poisoning: Shallow breathing, Stupor, Circulatory depression, Respiratory failure, Coma, and then Death.

Toxins: Alkaloids and Morphine.

the most poisonous flower

Opium Poppy is one of the beautiful but deadly flowers. No other flowering plants in the world have caused more damage to humans than the opium poppy. Wondering how? That’s because it produces the most addictive drug, which is further used while processing heroin.

  • It has been an important war tool during the period of Opium Wars – 1839 to 1842 & 1856 to 1860.
  • In United Arab Emirates (UAE), the cultivation of opium poppies is illegal.
  • The alkaloid compounds in opium poppies are highly toxic. The maximum concentration lies in their milky saps, which is present in almost all the plant parts.
  • When eaten, it can be fatal. The symptoms begin by making the person breath slow followed by unconsciousness, respiratory & circulatory failure, and then coma.

Though it produces the prettiest flowers, growers are more interested in its pod – for the alkaloids like morphine. They illegally sell it in the trade market for heroin production. The toxins of opium poppy have chemicals that can suppress the entire nervous system in few hours and cause death when consumed excessively.

1 Monkshood

Scientific Name: Aconitum

Symptoms of Poisoning: Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, burning sensation in the face & mouth, and heart failure.

Toxins: Alkaloid pseudaconitine and Aconitine (a potent neurotoxin).

Most Poisonous Flowers In The World

Meet the world’s most poisonous flower – Monkshood, also known as the “Queen of Poisons.” The plant blooms stunning blue flowers but don’t be mesmerized because it is so toxic that it can even kill whales. It has Nepalese poison with enormous amounts of deadly alkaloids. The other common names include aconite, wolf’s bane, or monk’s blood.

Quick Facts:

  • The ancient Japanese, Chinese, and Minaro tribes used this plant to poison their arrows for wars and hunting.
  • The hunters of the Aleutian Islands used monkshood’s extract to coat the heads of harpoons to kill whales.
  • The concentrated aconitine can paralyze the respiratory nerves in minutes. When ingested, it results in heart palpitations, reduced pulse, blood pressure fall, and abnormal heartbeat. In high doses, it can kill a human instantly.

Once ingested, the symptoms appear immediately, usually within 1 hour. With high doses, death is instantaneous. If the poisoning is severe, death occurs within 2-6 hours in fatal poisoning. Even 20 ml – 40 ml of its tincture can prove fatal. The compound that causes this is called pseudaconitine, which is a deadly poison and leads to instant death.

The initial symptoms begin with nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, which is followed by sensations of burning, numbness, and tingling in the face, abdomen, as well as mouth. If the case is severe, the numbness spreads to limbs and causes heart failure.

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