Toxic plants to avoid
Many cultivated plants, even if beautiful, can be a source of concern, especially when outdoor spaces are a place of recreation for our children. Many people do not know that it is not at all uncommon for ornamental essences (and plants in general) to be poisonous: various illnesses can derive from the ingestion of seeds or leaves and in some, fortunately, restricted, cases must be avoided even contact with skin and mucous membranes.
Fortunately, the statistics tell us that serious consequences are rare, but it is still worth assessing their elimination or reciting the area. It is important to monitor constantly and carefully the activities of our children, especially within 5 years of age.
Here is a review of the most common poisonous plants from us!
Digital (Digitalis Purpurea)
This beautiful plant contains digitoxin, an extremely powerful cardioactive glycoside, capable of causing violent arrhythmias and, at high doses, leads to death. In an average adult it is sufficient to ingest 300 g of leaves. Minimal quantities have opposite effects, regulating the contractions of the heart (and it is in fact the active principle of many specific medicines).
This shrub is widespread throughout our peninsula, where it also grows spontaneously. In the home garden it should be monitored carefully because all parts contain oleandrin, a molecule that interferes with the activity of the muscles and therefore also of the heart. Let us remember when we prune it or handle the leaves. The seeds are very dangerous: children could swallow them.
Its beautiful blue flowers, produced in autumn, must not deceive us: it is one of the most poisonous plants ever. Aconitine acts on the peripheral and central nervous system and the fatal dose is only 1 mg. Special care must be taken when handling it, since even contact can cause dermatitis and annoying symptoms, especially in children.
This fragrant flower is dangerous because some contained compounds have important effects on the heart, causing bradycardia, vomiting and in more serious cases, death. We pay particular attention to the fruits, visible on the ground in autumn: being round and red they can easily be mistaken for sweets.
It is highly appreciated for the large red lobed leaves, but should be absolutely avoided in the presence of children. All the parts, but in particular the seeds, contain ricinoleic acid and ricin, both extremely toxic, causing diarrhea and poisoning.
This plant grows wild at the edge of the woods, but in mountainous areas it is not difficult to see it even in the courtyards. Leaves and roots contain many alkaloids: the most famous are atropine and scopolamine which act on the nervous system and consequently on the musculature.
This datura (as well as others used for ornamental purposes) has, in its leaves, a large quantity of alkaloids such as scopolamine and atropine, with narcotic, sedative and hallucinogenic effects. The toxic dose is however very low and ingestion almost always causes intoxication and, in the most serious cases, death due to paralysis of the respiratory musculature.
Inevitable in mixed borders, which give momentum and verticality, they are however a serious danger in case of ingestion of young leaves and seeds. The alkaloids contained cause agitation, salivation, cardiac arrhythmias, up to paralysis and convulsions.
A beautiful tree, often used alone or for the creation of refined hedges. All its parts, leaves, berries and bark are toxic to Tasso: ingestion can lead to tremors, heart problems and to the digestive system. In the most serious cases there is cardio-circulatory arrest.
Poisonous plants to avoid in a garden with children: Rhododendron ponticum
Very common in the mountains and in the highlands, it contains, in the leaves and in the pollen, the graianotoxin, an alkaloid capable of causing intoxication, even in small doses. Not only the plant is dangerous: already in ancient times the honey produced in those areas was discarded because it is considered poisonous.