Top 10 Dangerous Plants That Can Literally KILL You

Script written by Rémi Dufresne.

The deadliest plants in the world many not look dangerous, but beware! Between Deadly Nightshade, Wolf’s Bane and Hemlock – which killed Socrates; these are some of the most poisonous plants to humans, which cause symptoms like hallucinations, paralysis and, of course, death. WatchMojo counts down ten of the most poisonous plants on the planet.

Special thanks to our users mac121mr0, nifaseeh, Domeniq Harris and Gabe 26 for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%20Ten%20Most%20Dangerous%20Plants


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Script written by Rémi Dufresne.

Top 10 Dangerous Plants That Can Straight-Up KILL You

You will not want to leave your house after watching this video! Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 deadliest plants!

For this list, we’ll be looking at plants that are deadly to humans when ingested. We’re focusing on the plants that are most likely to be ingested, either because they’re found everywhere or simply because they appear harmless. And, the more deaths these plants have caused, the more likely they are to find themselves on our list.

#10: Belladonna
aka Deadly Nightshade

Don’t be fooled by the name: Belladonna, which means “beautiful lady” in Italian, can be deadly to humans – in fact, it’s one of the most toxic plants you’ll come across in the Eastern Hemisphere, and has been used as a poison throughout history. Although the plant’s root contains the most poison, watch out for the fruit: round and tasty-looking, belladonna berries are easily mistaken for more edible wild cherries. Eat more than 10 berries and you’ve just ingested a dose large enough to kill an adult human. It’ll likely cause you to hallucinate, and will attack your nervous system, affecting the body’s ability to control things like sweating, heart rate and breathing.

#9: Brugmansia
aka Angel’s Trumpets

Though today it’s mostly seen as an ornamental plant due to its beautiful flowers, the “angel’s trumpet” was once used by South American cultures in ceremonial rituals, to treat aches and pains, or even as a decongestant or sedative. Today, brugmansia has been proven to cause vivid – and terrifying – hallucinations, mainly because it’s rich in tropane alkaloids like scopolamine. Those who ingest it can no longer distinguish their visions from reality. Plus, it commonly causes those who consume it to forget everything that happened while under the influence, and overdosing can lead to death. Don’t believe us? After drinking just one cup of brugmansia tea, one man amputated his own tongue and penis. So, steer clear.

#8: Conium Maculatum
aka Poison Hemlock

This dangerous plant’s poison is one of the most famous in history. Just a small dose of hemlock is enough to kill a human – seriously; eating about six-eight leaves can be deadly. First, your extremities go numb, and you lose the ability to move your legs, arms, etc. Then, the poison creeps up and attacks vital bodily functions, ultimately causing paralysis of the muscles. In particular, it freezes the respiratory muscles, meaning you die because your heart and brain don’t get enough oxygen. Of course, the most famous victim of hemlock is Greek philosopher Socrates, who was sentenced to death after being convicted of sinfulness and corrupting the young people of Athens.

#7: Cerbera Manghas
aka Sea Mango

Aside from its innocent nickname, cerbera manghas is also labeled “suicide apple” in Hawaii: both the leaves and the fruit contain cerberin, which – when eaten – can disrupt the heartbeat and sometimes provoke sudden death. Worse yet, the sea mango looks just like a regular, edible mango, making it easy to accidentally ingest the poison. Of course, ingestion isn’t always accidental: in 16th century Madagascar, the seeds were used to determine the guilt of those accused of crimes. Often, the accused would willingly submit themselves to the so-called tangena ordeal to prove their innocence; if you died, you were a witch. By the time it was officially abolished in 1863, this practice had killed hundreds of thousands of people.

#6: Ageratina Altissima
aka White Snakeroot

Ageratina Altissima has killed thousands of people throughout history, but there’s a good chance none of these people even saw or tasted the plant. How is that possible? Containing a toxin called tremetol, white snakeroot is so poisonous that if an animal ingests it and then that animal gives milk or is killed for meat, the human that eats the meat or drinks the milk can be poisoned. In the 19th century, this mysterious “milk sickness,” as it’s called, claimed many victims, causing symptoms like bad breath, nausea, intestinal problems, comas and, ultimately, death. The most famous probable victim of milk poisoning? Nancy Hanks Lincoln, mother of Abraham Lincoln.

#5: Aconitum
aka Monkshood, Wolf’s Bane, Devil’s Helmet, etc.

You’ll frequently find this plant and its blue, purple, white, yellow or pink flowers growing in mountain pastures of the Northern Hemisphere. Beautiful, but deadly. You see, the plant contains the aconitine toxin. While aconite has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, for example, it’s also been used in hunting and warfare: civilizations in places like the Himalayas, Japan and China tipped their arrows in the poison, while rumors suggest the Nazis coated their bullets in the stuff. If you do end up ingesting aconite, you’ll know within 10-20 minutes, because your fingers and toes will start to burn. Within six hours, you’ll be dead – and it’ll just look like you asphyxiated.

#4: Manchineel
aka Beach Apple

Sure, it kinda looks like an apple tree, but do NOT eat its fruit – well, unless you like agonizing, burning pain in your throat and don’t like to be able to swallow. But the fruit known as the “little apple of death” isn’t the only part of this tree to avoid: its sap contains a compound that’s irritating to skin, so if you seek shelter under a manchineel tree during a rainstorm for example, you might break out in blisters if the stuff drips onto your skin. And if you decide to burn the tree, don’t let the smoke get in your eyes; it can cause “ocular injuries.” So basically, avoid the manchineel at all costs.

#3: Nerium
aka Oleander

Legend has it that, one fateful night, a group of soldiers in Napoleon’s army died after they used branches from a pretty pink bush to roast their meat. Whether or not the oleander shrub did actually kill these army men is questioned, but it certainly could have, as it’s one of the world’s most toxic, yet common garden plants. Yet it looks so harmless: the oleander shrub’s covered in pretty flowers, but ingesting just one or two of its leaves is enough to cause problems with the heart, stomach and central nervous system that could kill you if not treated in time. Fortunately, reports of humans being poisoned by oleanders are fairly uncommon, so there’s that.

#2: Abrus Precatorius
aka Crab’s Eye, Rosary Pea, Wild Licorice, etc.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and an abrus precatorius by any other name would be as deadly. This plant’s actually considered a weed in warm places like Florida, Hawaii, Polynesia and the Caribbean. That might be why some people thought it’d be a good idea to use them to make jewelry or as the noisemakers in maracas, for example. However, buyer beware: inside those seeds is one of the most toxic poisons on Earth: abrin. Just one seed is enough to kill a human, putting the victim through every terrible symptom you can think of. Fortunately, if you swallow one without cracking its shell, you might live to tell the tale. Well, that’s reassuring…

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- Convallaria Majalis
aka Lily of the Valley

- Nicotiana
aka Tobacco Plants

- Datura
aka Devil’s Trumpets

#1: Ricinus
aka the Castorbean

Found worldwide growing indigenously or cultivated as a decorative plant, the castor-oil-plant is a beautiful species. Castor oil itself is used in the production of products ranging from soaps to paints to perfumes; it even has some medicinal uses. Sounds like a pretty handy little bean, right? Well, beware: it’s also deadly. Castor beans in their raw form are full of a toxic substance called ricin, meaning, if you ingest between 4-8 seeds, there’s a good chance you’ll die a painful – and drawn out – death. Expect symptoms like burning in your mouth and throat, bloody diarrhea and scarily low blood pressure. No wonder the Guinness World Records people named it the “most poisonous plant in the world.”

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