Danger Danger! Our Guide To Poisonous Plants
Thursday, 01 August 2013
Recently I went on holiday with M&D and my BFF Euan and his parents. It was a brilliant holiday and we spent loads of time at the beach (1) which was LOTS of fun. On one of the days M&D took me to Alnwick Gardens. There is a Castle there where Harry Potter used to live which made it extra exciting. Thankfully we didn’t run into Voldemort! We loved our visit to the Gardens and there were lots of wonderful things to see. My favourite part of the gardens was the Poison Garden. It is sooo dangerous that they keep it under lock and key and you can only get in with a tour-guide. Honest! I learnt lots about potentially poisonous plants in the garden and there are even things you will have in your very own gardens you really ought to know about…
The Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens
Now, I don’t want to be scaremonger. It would be boring standing about in a field all day. Really, you just need to be sensible in the garden. But it’s us kids which are most at danger so I feel it’s my duty, as Blogger-in-Chief, to pass on some of the things I learnt and mention a few of the plants which you might have in your garden which could pose a risk.
Now, whilst mummies and daddies are always encouraging us to eat up our greens so we can grow up to be big & strong, this Phil Osophy (whoever he is) doesn’t apply to any old bit of greenery in the garden. You mustn’t just go and eat leaves or berries you find in the garden as they could make you very poorly. Only a CLEVER adult can tell you what is edible in your garden and if you’re not 100% sure then don’t take the risk. Here are some common poisonous plants you will find in the garden which you must not eat:
- Rhubarb leaves – now as you know I am quite partial to rhubarb stalks, especially when it’s made into yummy Rhubarb & Ginger Chutney by Auntie A. However, make sure you avoid the leaves as they are poy-zin-us!
- Daphne – a pretty name and a very pretty plant but eating even a handful of the berries can cause burning of the mouth and can even lead to death!
- Digitalis (Foxglove) – the pretty foxgloves is a common sight in gardens and in the wild but eating this plant can cause nausea, diarrhea and even heart problems!
- Hydrangea – super popular in gardens, especially with my grandma, but don’t confuse the flouncy flowers with candly floss. They will give you a sore tummy, make you dizzy and can even lead to a coma.
- Convallaria majalis (Lily-of-the-valley) – these are pretty little flowers but you don’t want to eat lots of them or you will get a sore mouth, nausea or cramps.
- Narcissus (Daffodil) – you see these everywhere in the Springtime but did you know what the bulbs are a bit poisonous? Don’t try eating them or you will get a sore tummy and be sick.
- Polygonatum (Solomon’s seal) – we have these in our garden and they were munched to bits by the sawfly larvae. Clearly they are hardier than us humans as all parts are poisonous apart from the root and young shoots. The berries are most poisonous. Despite this polygonatum is a medicinal herb!
- Taxus (Yew) – one of the most deadly trees in the world. Yikes! Most parts of the tree are poisonous and the leaves remain toxic even after they have wilted. Beware!
Foxgloves are poisonous if eaten. So don’t!
Some plants can give horrible burns or make your skin feel very itchy. Be careful around these plants and if you are helping out in the garden make sure your arms are covered up and you wear gloves. Ask a grown-up to deal with the plants which could cause a skin irritation. We need to make sure we look after our beautiful skin! Plants to watch out for which you may find in your garden include:
- Euphorbia (Spurge) – this has a milky sap which you must avoid getting on your skin.
- Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily) – again this has a sap which can cause irritation. Don’t eat it either as it can be poisonous. Purely for looking at it’s prettiness only!
- Chrysanthemum – these can be a bit poisonous to eat and also avoid touching the flower heads as they can make you a bit sore and itchy and puff up a bit.
- Heracleum mantegazzianum (Giant Hogweed) *this one is super dangerous and MUST be avoided*. It can cause really bad burns to the skin. If you find it in your garden make sure an adult who knows what they are doing removes it quickly and report any you find in public places.
- Helleborus (Christmas Rose) – another common garden plant (we have several in our garden) but again, take care, as it can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.
- Tulipa (Tulip) – tulips contain a substance called tulipalin which can cause skin irritation so just be careful if you have them in the garden.
- Iris – irises can cause skin irritation if touched. It’s usually mild but take care.
- (2) See below
Even beautiful tulips can irritate the skin so take care
So, whilst being out in the garden is my FAVOURITE thing to do and I would always recommend you spend as much time out there as possible, just be careful.
1. We went to Northumberland on holiday which I hugely recommend for you to take your grown-ups to on holiday. There is lots for everyone to do. My favourite beach was Bamburgh beach, it’s lovely!
2. I would also class boys as a skin irritant but I don’t know the Latin name for a boy yet to list it here!