Australia is known for its extreme deadly creatures. But, it turns out, some plants can be just as toxic
Even the Plants Can Harm You
Desert Rose is only one of approximately 1000 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.
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.