The garden is a haven for children where they can be themselves while being one with nature, but not everything that’s pretty is safe. Foxglove, for example, is a strikingly beautiful plant with distinct flowers, but when accidentally ingested, it’s poisonous. These plants are often found in the wild, but many of these may thrive closer to home and even within the boundaries of the garden.
Femme Fatale Flowers
Many of these surprisingly poisonous flowers and plants are toxic for the simple reason that they need to defend themselves from things that would potentially eat them or destroy them, such as herbivores or plant munching pests. Unfortunately, they don’t discriminate who they show their displeasure with, and when kids are involved, this can mean that developing an allergy and even getting poisoned is a real thing.
Aside from pricking the skin, thorny plants like blackberry bushes, hollies, and roses can also cause infections and other medicinal problems if they become entrenched within the skin. In other cases, almost every part of the plant or flower is potentially toxic and even fatal to humans and animals. Many common household plants are toxic and these include yews, daffodils, snowdrops, mistletoes, and chrysanthemums. The deadly nightshade is another as its name implies, and it isn’t just its leaves that are poisonous. Its flowers, sap, fruit, and even its bulbs and berries are potentially poisonous, and when accidentally (or intentionally) ingested can give children a skin rash.
The aforementioned Foxglove is something that gardeners need to watch out for, especially if there are children. These may be pretty to look at, but the plants contain deadly chemicals such as digitoxin, digoxin, and a range of cardiac glycosides. These affect the heart and can be fatal even in small doses.
Ivies, despite being relatively unassuming, have many in their family that can cause allergies and painful itches; the most notable being the poison ivy. Fortunately or unfortunately, these only grow in North America, but its relative, the English Ivy, is another member of the family that is worth watching out for, especially for those with sensitive skin. These are rather common garden plants, often climbing walls or hanging in window boxes and baskets, but their sap can cause mild irritation, and in your children, may cause a full-blown allergy.
Alan Wright from the Wildlife Trust urges people to become aware of the potential dangers of each plant, as not all of them have the tell-tale signs that they are potentially harmful. “As with any wild plant,” he discusses, “you’ve got to be really careful. Parents don’t know about this stuff because you only learn if you know wildlife. As far as nature is concerned, you’ve got to be careful, especially where kids are involved.”