Ricinus communis – Castor oil plant

Ricinus communis - Southern MexicoRicinus communis - Botanic Garden (Frankfurt, Germany)Ricinus communis - Venezuela
 
 
 
 
 
Ricinus communis - Castor oil plant (1)Ricinus communis - Castor oil plant (2)

Ricinus communis – Castor oil plant

Ricinus communis – It probably comes from the north of Africa. It is a 10-meter tall plant that enjoys great popularity in gardening.

  • Deadly dose: 15 – 20 seeds
  • Death: to 1 week
  • Poison: ricin
  • Aftermath: renal, liver and spleen failure
  • Where it grows: in all tropical and subtropical areas of the world
  • Occurrence in Poland: artificially bred

The most dangerous are the bars of its seeds, about 6,000 times more aggressive than cyanide. Causes agglutination of red blood cells and damages the liver, kidneys and spleen. The first symptoms are similar to a cold, followed by headaches, mouth burning, vomiting and internal bleeding. It gradually attacks the entire human circulatory system.

History of the plant:
Castor oil is squeezed from the seeds, from which soap, ointments, drops or perfumes are made. Apparently Cleopatra applied it to her eyes to have a “wider perspective”. In 1978, a Bulgarian secret interview was used to murder the writer and journalist Georgie Markov, who after several days of the fight for his life died of kidney failure in a London hospital.

Atropa belladonna – Most dangerous in Central Europe

Atropa belladonna - Botanic Garden - Leipzig, GermanyAtropa belladonna (2)Atropa belladonna (3)Atropa belladonna (4)

Atropa belladonna – Most dangerous in Central Europe

Atropa belladonna – This plant is considered the most dangerous in Central Europe. Its all parts are very toxic.

  • Deadly dose: 10 – 12 fruits
  • Death: in few hours
  • Poison: atropine, hyoscyamine
  • Aftermath: nervous system and heart rate weakness, stopping breathing
  • Where it grows: most of Europe, some places in Africa and Asia
  • Occurrence in Poland: yes

The big danger lies in the fact that its shiny fruits can be easily confused with edible forest fruits. Man can poison not only through direct consumption, but also through goat’s milk or meat, if animal earlier ate it. Typical symptoms of poisoning are dilated pupils, an accelerated pulse or redness on the face. There may also be hallucinations and loss of consciousness.

History of the plant:
Atropa belladonna was a component of shampoo drinks and ointments, because after applying to the skin it caused hallucinations – a man seemed to be able to fly.
In ancient Rome, the wives of Emperor Augustus and Claudius poisoned them with a shout. Medieval women applied drops of juice to their eyes. It was to guarantee them beautiful, large eyes. In this way, they risked not only conjunctivitis and eye deterioration, but death as well. Atropine in eye tests doctors are using today.

Aconitum napellus – One of the most poisonous plants

Aconitum napellusAconitum napellus (2)Aconitum napellus (3)

Aconitum napellus – One of the most poisonous plants

Aconitum napellus – One of the most poisonous plants.

  • Deadly dose: 3 – 5 mg
  • Death: in few hours
  • Poison: aconitine
  • Aftermath: heart and respiratory paralysis
  • Where it grows: in Western Europe and eastern North America
  • Occurrence in Poland: yes

All parts of this dark blue plant contain aconitine. The flower should not be touched (the poison is so strong that it can penetrate the body by applying a leaf to the skin). Poisoning does not occur often, mostly because the man has mistaken the root of the plant with horseradish or other root vegetables. Ingestion causes mouth burning, salivation, vomiting and fluctuations in blood pressure. In medicine, a tuber of aconite is used that reduces temperature in limited doses.

History of the plant:
In the Middle Ages it was used to poison swords and arrowheads. Teutons used venom during magical shamanic rituals, it was also a component of fairy ointments.