B1 Information Report

Deadly Plants

Plants have become an important part in our daily lives. They can be used to decorate our homes. We eat them as food and as medicine. However, while plants can nourish and heal, they can also hurt us. Here are some of the world’s most deadly plants that we know of.

Are you ready to embark on this dangerous botanical tour? Good. Then watch your step. Always remember that unless you have permission or close supervision, it’s best to keep away from these plants.

Most importantly, do not touch, smell or taste them.

The name belladonna has two different meanings. In Italian, it means “beautiful lady” but in English, belladonna is also the scientific name for deadly nightshade.

This beautiful plant has purple flowers and sharp, black berries. It has a long history of medical and cosmetic uses. Long ago, women put drops of nightshade into their eyes to dilate the pupils. It was said to make them look attractive.

However, the plant itself contains high levels of atropine, one of nature’s deadliest poisons. The berries can be mistaken for tasty fruit and accidentally eaten. Atropine causes hallucinations and attacks the body’s nervous system. This can lead to paralysis and death. In addition, belladonna was a common poison among the ancient Romans and people living in the Middle Ages. They used it to kill themselves or their enemies.

This plant that grows in Europe and Asia has been called ‘the queen of poisons’. It is also commonly known as “wolf’s bane” by the ancient Greeks who used the juice to poison and kill wolves. Archers dipped their arrows in aconite juice both for hunting and warfare. It is also associated with uses in witchcraft and magic.

Aconite poisoning is deadly. A person who is poisoned with it will feel a burning feeling in the mouth and stomach. Even a little bit of skin contact can make you feel numb throughout the body.  Swallowing the plant or its roots can bring on bad vomiting, resulting in death by asphyxiationyou cannot breathe.

Today, small amount of aconite are still used in traditional Chinese medicines, and is also found in healthcare products sold in pharmacies.

To view the complete article, subscribe to Just English magazine.

dilate – to make something wider or larger
hallucinations – something you imagine but isn’t really there
paralysis – a condition where you cannot move
asphyxiation – a condition where you cannot breathe
Click here to download the audio