(ORDO NEWS) — We’ll tell you which apples you shouldn’t bite into, the aroma of which flowers you definitely shouldn’t inhale, and under which tree it’s better not to wait out the rain, because all this may be your last initiative. In the selection – the most poisonous plants on the planet.
1 – Tobacco
Some parts of the plant, especially the leaves, contain anabasine and nicotine alkaloids. Both chemicals are toxic. Mimicking the effect of acetylcholine (somewhat similar to the effect of adrenaline), nicotine acts on the autonomic nervous system. If you eat tobacco leaves, you can die.
The phrase “a drop of nicotine kills a horse” should not be so ironic: 50 mg of a toxic substance can lead to lung failure and cause paralysis.
Anyone who has smoked tobacco at least once is familiar with the effects of nicotine in small doses – heart palpitations, high blood pressure, sometimes mild nausea and dizziness. One cigarette contains about 3 mg of nicotine, so all these symptoms create a feeling of cheerfulness rather than poisoning.
There is also nicotine in liquid form: an oily liquid of a yellowish or brown color. A teaspoon of such an “oil” can kill an adult, and a drop of the substance on the skin is enough to cause poisoning of the body. It is curious that liquid nicotine is used for insecticides, and – think about it! – for electronic cigarettes.
2 – Belladonna or belladonna vulgaris
This plant is also called sleepy dope and mad berry. It is not surprising that such names did not arise from scratch.
The dangerous plant is related to tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, some types of peppers and tobacco – all of them belong to the Solanaceae family. Among the most poisonous plants in the eastern hemisphere, belladonna contains a huge amount of the tropane alkaloid in the company of other toxins.
Tropan has pharmacological properties and is even used in medicine – but under the watchful supervision of doctors. Even in ancient times, it was used as an anesthetic. The level of toxicity of belladonna depends on the parts of the plant and the season.
Theoretically, three to four fresh berries act as a psychoactive agent. But given the individual characteristics of the physique and health of each individual, the risk of death is extremely high. Belladonna berries are especially dangerous for children – most often they die from these appetizing and sweet-tasting berries.
Belladonna ointment was used during the witch trials in the Middle Ages – in a state of frenzied excitement, they confessed to everything they were accused of. True, risky young ladies in the Middle Ages instilled belladonna extract into their eyes – this dilated the pupils.
3 – Weh or Cicuta
Herbaceous plant of the Umbelliferae family. This plant has become firmly established in history in connection with the death of Socrates: it is believed that he committed suicide by drinking hemlock juice.
Despite being related to the harmless carrots, celery, parsnips, and coriander, don’t be deceived: weh is the most poisonous plant in North America. A very small amount of cicutotoxin – a poison contained in a plant – is enough to poison a person. The poison attacks the central nervous system, causing excruciating convulsions.
The plant is easy to recognize, especially in June and July, during the flowering period: small white flowers look like umbrellas. The most poisonous part of the plant is the root. Symptoms of poisoning can appear as early as 15 minutes – nervousness, dilated pupils, rapid pulse, convulsions, seizures and, eventually, coma and death.
4 – Prayer rosary
This plant is a species of the genus Abrus of the legume family. The plant is native to Indonesia but is widely found elsewhere around the world. This is a climbing vine, the fruits of which are a pod with red-black seeds.
The seeds, interestingly, are often used in maracas musical percussion instruments and jewelry. Its main name – “bead” – the plant deserved thanks to all the same seeds: they made a rosary from them. This is how the plant was brought to other countries, spreading mainly in hot regions such as Belize, Hawaii, Polynesia, Florida in the USA.
Attractive seeds are fraught with wild danger: they contain a deadly poison. Only 3 mg is enough to kill a person. Fortunately, the seeds have a shell that keeps the poison inside.
The shell is so strong that even if you swallow the seeds, you may not be poisoned. The problem is that the shell can be corrupted. There were cases when, when making jewelry, craftsmen accidentally pierced the seeds of a plant, and the poison on the skin was fatal.
5 – Oleander
This luxurious shrub is common in the subtropics. Despite the fact that it is often used in landscape design (it is painfully beautiful), oleander is a poisonous plant. Oleander prefers hot countries, but due to its popularity as an ornamental plant, it can be found almost anywhere. Or rather: in almost any garden.
The plant is poisonous no matter how you approach it: all its parts are toxic. If you use oleander juice inside, the symptoms of poisoning will appear instantly: first, the poison affects the gastrointestinal system, then the cardiovascular and central nervous systems.
Poisoning with oleander poison can cause cardiac arrest, so it is important to provide timely medical assistance to the victim.
6 – Datura fragrant
No less poetically, the plant is called in English – Angel’s Trumpet, that is, “Angel Trumpets”. Indeed, the flowers of the plant look like gramophones (and quite innocent, angelic in appearance).
Thanks to elegant flowers – white, yellow, pink, orange – fragrant dope is common as an ornamental plant, it can often be found in gardens, greenhouses, on balconies or verandas.
Like oleander, Datura is poisonous “from head to toe”, but the seeds and leaves are especially toxic – their entry into the human body is fraught with death. Scopolamine, hyoscyamine, and other tropane alkaloids, which are rich in datura, cause paralysis, confusion, tachycardia, hallucinations, and death.
True, these same alkaloids also have medicinal properties – they are often used in folk medicine. The effect of scopolamine is interesting: in powder form, it prevents the formation of new memories and blocks the will of a person, making him practically defenseless in relation to others. In other words, by spraying scolopamine powder (contained in Datura), you can turn a person into a “zombie”.
7 – Aconite or Wrestler
In English, it is called Queen of all Poisons – “Queen of all poisons.” As you understand, such a title must be earned. 20-40 ml of aconitine, the poison contained in the plant, is fatal to humans.
Aconitine is easily absorbed through the skin, so even a touch can be fatal. Nausea, numbness, burning are quickly replaced by weakness, arrhythmia, and then – paralysis of the heart and respiratory system.
Aconite is common in Europe, Asia and North America. The ancient inhabitants of these territories used aconite poison for military purposes, lubricating arrowheads with it. In Alaska, whales and seals were hunted in this way.
8 – The window sill is wrinkled
A plant of the Astrov family. The window sill contains the poison tremetol. A particular danger lies in the fact that the plant often finds itself in the “menu” of cattle, and the poison, respectively, enters both meat and milk.
Populating the New World, Europeans did not know about the poisonous properties of the plant, and often died after drinking poisoned milk. They called this attack “milk sickness.” They say that Abraham Lincoln’s mother died in 1818 from “milk sickness” (tremetol poisoning).
9 – Manchineel tree
One of the most poisonous trees on the planet, common in Central America and the Caribbean islands. The tree is so dangerous that sometimes it is fenced off and even accompanied by a warning sign.
If some plants are poisonous when touched, then the manchineel is much more cruel – you can get burns just by passing by!
The decision to “wait the rain under the manchineel” will be fatal for a frivolous person: raindrops that touch the leaves of a tree affect the skin. The daredevils who start a fire made of manchineel wood will be lucky if they do not go blind from its smoke.
The most bloodthirsty part of a tree is its fruit. In Spanish, they are called “little apples of death”: the fruit is guaranteed to kill you if you decide to try it.
The aborigines who inhabited the Caribbean islands soaked arrows in the juice of manchineel “apples”, and for especially sophisticated torture they tied victims to a tree – they were waiting for a long and painful death in agony.
10 – Cerberus
A genus of evergreen trees and shrubs named after the monstrous dog of Greek mythology. And it is named so for a reason.
All parts of the plant contain cerberin, a highly toxic substance that blocks electrical impulses in the body, including the heart’s rhythm. One of the representatives of the family in English is called the Suicide Tree, that is, the “Tree of Suicides”: because many used it to settle accounts with life.
The special danger of the “suicide tree” lies in its seeds. In Madagascar, until the middle of the 19th century, Cerberus seeds were used during witch trials: the accused had to eat the seeds, and the isolated survivors were declared innocent.
This practice was canceled only in 1861 – by that time, almost 2% of the island’s population had died from the fruits of the “suicide tree”.
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