Common Household Poisonous Plants

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Most people enjoy displaying a number of different species of plants in their homes and offices. These plants serve as a beautiful décor addition to any home or place of business and help to provide beautiful green foliage and colored flowers. What many people might not realize is that there are a large variety of plants that are actually poisonous and can be very harmful to people and pets. When these plants are eaten or swallowed, they can be dangerous and in some cases even fatal. This is why it is so important that people understand which common plants are dangerous, and which ones to avoid, particularly in homes with pets or young children. Understanding how to recognize and treat the symptoms of these various plants can often mean the difference between life and death. It’s a good idea to talk to a professional who knows what common houseplants to avoid completely before making any purchase. In the event that you’re unaware, here are some common plants that many people may not know are poisonous as well as their various warning symptoms:

Rosary Pea:

A plant with bright red seeds or peas that have a small black dot on them, these can be extremely poisonous and deadly. In most cases, death occurs very shortly after ingestion, sometimes before an hour has passed. The peas cause internal lesions and there is no known cure or remedy for this particular plant, so it is best to steer clear of these in any situation.


This is a purple flower that looks beautiful, but looks can be deceiving. This plant also known as wolfs bane and has delicate purple flowers hanging from a stem. The stem is poisonous to animals, humans, and birds. It is a common plant that is found in most areas of the world. When ingested, it is curable by inducing vomiting and having the victim drink large amounts of water or milk until treatment can be given. Overall, it is best to stay away from monkshood.

Water Hemlock:

Often, hemlock can be found on lawns across the United States, as it is commonly used for landscaping purposes. The plant has lovely white flowers in small groups held together by a main stem. While the stem and flowers are safe, the roots can be toxic. This toxic root can cause nausea and vomiting. See a physician immediately if roots are ingested.

Castor Beans:

These beans are one of the most poisonous and dangerous in the world, and can be found across the continents, but are predominant in the Western part of the United States. This plant has seven pointed leaves with a cone shaped flower that is usually red in color. The beans themselves have speckles of brown and black. If swallowed, they can cause vomiting and can be fatal. Call a poison control center or hospital immediately if castor beans are ingested.


A very common and beautiful plant used in gardens all over the US, this plant’s flowers and stems are safe, however the bulb is toxic. If the bulb is swallowed, consume large amounts of water or milk to dilute the poison and try to induce vomiting immediately.

Bushman’s Poison:

This African plant has been used for centuries by African tribes as a form of weapon, with the plant attached to an arrow or dart in order to hunt various game. The plant appears to be a flowering bush with pretty pink flowers and berries that resemble plums, making it a tempting plant to consume. The sap is quite poisonous and if swallowed, treatment should be given immediately. On the other hand, the leaves of the bushman’s poison plant actually have medicinal properties.

Angel’s Trumpet:

Another name for this plant is the devil’s snare, and there is a reason for that. This plant is a relative to the tomato and can lead to death if ingested. It has also been known to cause hallucinations. Try to induce vomiting as soon as this plant is swallowed and call your doctor. The angel’s trumpet looks like a long yellow trumpet or horn, with colors that change into red hues at the tip.

As a general rule, you should never purchase or display any plants that you are unfamiliar with, or that have not been deemed as safe. Research various plants to make sure the ones you choose for your home, garden, or office are friendly for people and animals.