Most plants contain some level of toxins, like alkaloids for defense. After all, they can’t move or go anywhere. Through a millennia of trial and error, both animals and human beings have figured out which plants are safe, which are lethal, and which are somewhere in between. However, you may be surprised to find out how many of the incredibly beautiful plants often hanging around your neighborhood park, gracing your tabletop in the form of a, or around your yard are lethal. The author of Wicked Plants, Amy Stewart puts some perspective on just how lethal some of the plants hanging around your yard or house really are.

These "killers" can come in all sorts of different forms, and most of them are incredibly surprising. They can include (but are not limited to):

It is common knowledge that many of the plants associated with trees are highly poisonous when ingested. Even more remarkable is that by simply touching certain tree plants a person can be subject to a serious health hazard. Take for example the Stinging Nettles, they are rather harmless but touching may cause a burning sensation and itching, reddening of the skin and perhaps blistering. But there are much more dangerous contact-poisonous plants in many parts of the world, especially in the tropics. They can cause severe pain, rashes, blisters or leave scars. Some trees are reported to be so powerful that even raindrops falling from them can irritate the skin. Other plant species can cause blindness through the smoke of burning wood or from rubbing the eyes after touching the leaves. There are other types which contain highly poisonous sap or seeds, which should under no circumstances get into the bloodstream - like the seeds of the Strychnine Tree and sap of the Strychnos toxifea which are in the same family.

Recreational Drugs:images-4.jpg
Drugs are a part of our culture, and there will always be people within our society (if not ourselves) that will use drugs recreationally. The reality is that the majority of this drugs are made from plants. Examples can include: Marijuana, Cocaine, and Heroine. Most of these drugs also have the potential for users to overdose on them, making them a killer by that fact alone. However, one drug that has had incredible effect on our society and in centuries past is Opium Poppy. This is a drug that has literally been the inspiration for not one, not two, but three wars, and has had deadly effects. It is a highly addictive drug and known to have powerful withdrawal symptoms, maybe one the most powerful inspired the Opium Wars.

An Everyday Habit:
While recreational drugs like the ones listed above are used frequently in our society, there is no more commonly used drug derived from plants in the world today than Tobacco. According the World Health Organization, over 15 billion cigarettes will be smoked worldwide today! Tobacco's usage in society can be traced back to 1500 BC in some cultures and the amount of human lives that it has claimed is simply unimaginable. To illustrate how deadly this plant is, the World Health Organization estimates that of everyone alive in the world today, 500 million people will eventually die for a reason related to tobacco usage! Tobacco is the deadliest plant in the history of mankind and what is amazing that until only within the last 50 years have humans discovered how deadly it is and have tried to stopped promoting it's usage in society.

The Plant growing in your garden or near :
With the organic and natural diet that is currently popular in our culture, many people are deciding to plant home gardimages-5.jpgens to have fresh and naturally grown fruits and vegetables. However poisonous plants such as Hemlock can find there way into these gardens and can be easily mistaken for home grown vegetables commonly planted in gardens, such as carrots. Water Hemlock commonly grows across the United States near wet areas such as streams, brooks, and river where many of us camp, hike, and play. This plant is considered to be the most toxic plant in North America and ingestion has the capability of killing humans and animals.

Caution Cattle May Be Deadly:
With cattle grazing, pasteurizing, and slaughtering of cattle and sheep is at an all time high in our culture, many people are unaware of the deadly affects that cattle and other animals could potentially have. Grazing cattle tend to eat plants, and hence White Snakeroot, which is a killer plant that causes Milk Sickness. An illness that killed Abraham Lincoln's mother! Growing rampantly on the east coast, White Snakeroot is found in states from Maine to Georgia and all the way to Kentucky. White Snak
eroot has a genus with over 300 species of plants and vines, and is found in dry foresty areas.
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