Some of the most popular plants that provide beauty, height, texture and color to flower gardens also contain toxins that can be fatal. Portions of the plant must be ingested for the toxins to enter the body, which makes the danger low to adults, but high to young children and animals. Identifying the most common poisonous garden plants can help you protect youngsters and pets in your yard.
Brightly colored, spiky larkspur is often used as a backdrop in flower gardens and is popular as a cutting for bouquets. Although it is beautiful, larkspur can be fatal if ingested. Texas A&M Agrilife Extension notes that young larkspur plants and the seeds are the most poisonous. Symptoms of larkspur poisoning include nervous agitation, nervous system depression and digestive problems.
Grown as a houseplant, a hedge and a flower garden accent shrub, oleander leaves and branches are described by Agrilife Extension as "extremely poisonous." Ingested, they can be fatal, and many people experience skin and eye irritation just by coming in contact with an oleander. Symptoms of oleander poisoning include irregular heartbeat and stomach pain.
Castor bean, also known rosary pea, is a quick-growing vine that is popular for covering fences and walls. In the fall, the leaves turn a flaming red and the vine produces beans, or seeds, that are highly toxic. Touched, the seeds can cause skin and eye irritation, and ingested even in small amounts, they can cause death. Symptoms of castor bean poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Like larkspur, foxglove is often grown in flower gardens for its tall, colorful, spiky flowers. It can be fatal if ingested, however, and the leaves are especially poisonous. Extracts from foxglove are used in heart medication, but in its raw form it causes an irregular heartbeat. Other symptoms of foxglove poisoning include confusion, dizziness and vomiting.
Loved for its fragrance and delicate blooms, jasmine is a favorite in gardens everywhere. Unfortunately, the berries it produces in the fall are poisonous and can cause death if ingested. All varieties are toxic, and symptoms include nervous system depression, vomiting and nausea.