House Plants That Are Dangerous

Australia is known for its extreme deadly creatures. But, it turns out, some house plants can be just as toxic as the spiders, snakes and other creatures that lurk in Australia’s bushland.

Even the House Plants Can Harm You

toxic house plant 3 desert rose
Desert Rose

Desert Rose is only one of approximately 1,000 plant species that are considered toxic to humans and animals. Some of the species, like the Desert Rose, can lead to slow heart rate and possible death while others can cause skin irritations, extreme pain and vomiting.

Some of these plants must be ingested in order to be poisonous, while others are toxic to the touch.

What Plants Should We Look Out For?

Black bean pods (Castanospermum australe), native to Queensland and New South Wales, can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and can be life threatening if the pods are ingested.

Strychnine trees (Strychnos nux-vomica), native to Australia, produce small orange coloured fruit with highly poisonous seeds. While low dosages of the fruit are used in homeopathic remedies, it can also kill. They harm the body’s nervous system, causing convulsions, paralysis and death. The tree’s blossoms and bark, containing the alkaloids strychnine and brucine, can also be poisonous.

Angel’s trumpets (Brugmansia spp.) are a common garden plant in Australia with red, white, orange or pink flowers and a pleasant aroma. However, they are highly toxic if ingested and can cause diarrhoea, confusion, migraines, paralysis and even death.

Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) is another common garden plant with poisonous berries and leaves. Ingesting one leaf or 20 berries can be fatal to adults and smaller amounts can kill a child. They also cause hysteria, hallucinations, erratic behaviour and delirium.

toxic house plant oleander

Oleander (Nerium oleander) is extremely common in Australia and can also be fatal, particularly to children, if ingested.

Gympie Gympie (Dendrocnide moroides) is in the stinging nettle family and can cause extreme pain for people who come in contact with it.

Milky Mangrove (Excoecaria agallocha), found in Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, is toxic due to its milky sap which can cause temporary blindness, skin irritation and blistering.


written by:

Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna traded in the cold mountain air for the laid back lifestyle of Australia nine years ago. She is now a mum to one son, one daughter, one dog and one cat, all of whom live with her and her partner in Cairns, QLD. When not writing about the ups and downs of parenting, she is usually outside doing some form of physical activity or indulging in a glass of antioxidant-infused fruit drink. Okay, it's wine.