Can Plants Be Poisonous?
Plants have always been very useful to humankind. They give us food, wood and purify air. The plants we see around us are usually harmless but some of the members of the plant kingdom are dangerous because they are poisonous.
A plant called Hemlock which grows in humid places is a poisonous plant. A poison confine is prepared from its roots and seeds. The flowers that grow on this plant are white colour and produce a foul smell. The poison obtained from this plant causes paralysis in all parts of the body right from the feet to the brain and heart and causes death.
Another plant called ‘ nux Vomica’ is found in Asian region is also very poisonous. The orange shaped fruits of this plant have five seeds each. A poison named strychnine is prepared from these seeds. This poison affects the pulse and results in death.
The poison of some harmful plants is less harmful. It may not cause death but affect the nerves and brain or other parts of the body very slowly. Toxic matter is often located in a particular part of the plant. Opium and related drugs are found in the milky latex of the Opium poppy but are absent from the seeds which are edible. Some plants have poisonous leaves but are harmless otherwise. Some are harmless when eaten green and fresh but poisonous when wilted or dried. Some plants cause skin irritation or painful inflammation with blisters if its juice comes into contact with the skin.
May-apple, fox glove, night shade, monkshood, sneeze weed, tiger lily, china berry, are some of the plants containing poisonous matter in one or more of its parts.