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List of Poisonous Shrubs

By Karen Carter ; Updated September 21, 2017

Plants are a source of food and a necessary part of your diet. But not every plant is edible. Shrubs are used as ornamentals, borders, screens and single showpieces in landscapes and gardens. Many parts of a shrub, the leaves, bark, stems, flowers and roots, can be poisonous. Unless a shrub is identified as being edible, then do not eat any of the parts. Do not use poisonous shrubs in areas where children and house pets can graze on the bushes.

Fragrant Daphne

Fragrant daphne (Daphne odora) is an evergreen shrub with a 4-foot rounded growing habit. It produces rosy-purple flowers in clusters at the end of terminal branches in the late winter or early spring. All parts of the fragrant daphne are poisonous. The most dangerous part of this shrub is the berries. Just a couple of berries have the potential to kill a child. Always teach children not to eat berries from unknown bushes.


Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.) are woody shrubs that are either evergreen or deciduous, depending on the variety. The flowers are brilliant pink, white, orange, red, purple or yellow clusters. This is a common showy, shrub used in landscapes as individual plants or as hedges. All parts of an azalea are fatal if eaten. Azalea poisoning causes watering eyes, running nose, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Severe poisoning continues with symptoms like loss of energy, difficult breathing, coma and eventually death.


Jessamine (Cestrum spp.) is a sprawling evergreen shrub used as a landscape item in flower gardens. Jessamine produces trumpet-shaped pale green, pale yellow or cream colored fragrant flowers. Small purple or white berries follow the flowering. Jessamine poisoning is caused by eating unripe berries. These berries produce symptoms of headache, dizziness, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, spasms, fever, paralysis and coma. It takes a large amount of Jessamine berries to generate symptoms.


About the Author


Karen Carter spent three years as a technology specialist in the public school system and her writing has appeared in the "Willapa Harbor Herald" and the "Rogue College Byline." She has an Associate of Arts from Rogue Community College with a certificate in computer information systems.