Guest Post: 8 Beautiful Flowers That Can Kill You

Our good friend Isabell Davila from flowerdelivery.net wrote this great post about dangerous flowers and allowed us to repost it here. Please check out her flower delivery website for more posts and some beautiful flowers.

Many things in nature are beautiful, yet deadly. When it comes to flowers, this can be particularly true, as some species are poisonous and even fatal to humans. Since gardening is a favorite hobby of millions worldwide, we should be very careful in choosing which flowers to beautify our surroundings, as there may be much more than meets the eye. Here are some alluring flowers that just so happen to be poisonous and can actually kill you.

  1. Aconitum Napellus (Wolf’s Bane)

    This common garden plant contains a deadly cardiac poison that was once used on the tips of spears and arrows for hunting during ancient times. Ingestion of even small amounts of aconitine, the primary toxin in the flower, results in severe gastrointestinal upset. However, what kills you is the effect it has on the heart, slowing it down until it eventually stops.

  2. Echium plantagineum (Purple Viper’s Bugloss)

    This vibrant purple flower is grown around the world and belongs to the Echium family. Unfortunately, the plants contain toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are poisonous even to large animals. One teaspoon of honey from the plant is above the recommended weekly minimum intake of these chemicals in humans and can be highly toxic in high quantities.

  3. Nerium oleander

    One of the most toxic plants in the world just so happens to have an elegant, sweet scent and appearance. Nearly every part of the plant and flower, from its stem to its sap, is extremely poisonous if ingested. The blossom is so dangerous that even the honey gathered by bees using oleander nectar is poisonous. The toxins from the Oleander flower causes an irregular heart rate in humans – causing our hearts to race, then drop to a dangerous level, until the heart stops beating altogether. Campers should be cautious when roasting food over an open fire, as there have been reports of inadvertent poisonings that result from inhaling the smoke from a burning Oleander.

  4. Castor Oil Plant

    Named the most poisonous plant in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records, just one milligram of the plant’s poison can kill a healthy adult. Its flowering seeds contain alkaloid ricin, which is more toxic than common cyanides. What’s even scarier is that this toxin has the ability to accumulate in an organism until the lethal dose is reached. Symptoms first include nausea and vomiting, then bloody diarrhea, fever, seizures, and finally a collapse resulting in death. Its seed, which is the castor bean, is known to be lethal in adults, if consumed in quantities from four to eight seeds.

  5. Daphne mezereum

    Also called lady laurel or paradise plant, every part of this beautiful plant is poisonous. The pink or purple flowers bloom in early spring before it gains it woody deciduous appearance with bright red berries. The bark, sap, and berries hold the greatest toxic concentration, including Mexerine, an acrid resin resulting in intense skin irritations, and Daphnine, a bitter glycoside. Combined, these two toxins will cause convulsions, delirium, headaches, diarrhea, and other not-so-pleasant reactions. If you ingest a berry, you could fall into a deep coma and die.

  6. Latana camara

    Widely found in the summer landscape of the tropics, beautiful yellow, orange, and pink flowers often obscure its deathly properties found in its green berries. Triterpenes, the poison found in its berries, is a precursor to steroids, which may cause muscle weakness and lead to a circulatory collapse.

  7. Atropa belladonna (Deadly nightshade)

    Though the name of the species comes from Latin, meaning a “pretty woman,” its bell-shaped violet blossoms and cherry-like fruit make it an overall attractive plant. However, when ingested, it may cause delirium and hallucinations. Fatal amounts of 10 to 20 berries or a single leaf of the plant can be deadly. Your symptoms including blurred vision, rashes, and a fast or slowed pulse, all leading up to a fatal convulsion.

  8. Rhododendron (Azaleas)

    Almost anyone is familiar with an Azalea flower; it’s one of the most popular types of flowering shrubs in the entire world. However, the nectar produced by Azalea flowers contains a grayanotoxin, known as “mad honey,” which is lethal in humans but harmless to bees. As a rule of thumb, Azaleas are nice to look at, but it’s not a good idea to chew on an Azalea flower.

It’s Spring! Here come the egg bearing bunnies!

Spring has sprung and in south Florida, it’s a joyous time of year! The weather is glorious, there’s no other word for it. Not too hot to sit outside, but hot enough to start enjoying popsicles and sand boxes! In just a few weeks, your yard could be crawling with little children searching for eggs, so we’d better take a look at what we need to do in April before those eggs are hidden! [Read more…]

Why choose indigenous plants

Many people, when deciding on plants and trees for their yard, choose those that offer to fulfill whatever needs they might have: shade or smell for example. Some might choose a bush that attracts butterflies or blooms with beautiful flowers, but often whether the plant is native to your area is overlooked.

Why is it important to choose indigenous plants?

The native acacia tortuosa

[Read more…]

Rain Barrels: The What, Where, When, Why and How?

A Rain Barrel from Plow+hearth

Image Courtesy of Plow+Hearth


What is a rain barrel?

A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains and streams.

Usually a rain barrel is composed of a 55 gallon drum, a vinyl hose, PVC couplings, a screen grate to keep debris and insects out, and other off-the-shelf items, a rain barrel is relatively simple and inexpensive to construct and can sit conveniently under any residential gutter down spout. Put very simply, a rain barrel catches water that is usually lost so that you can use that water for plants and grass.

Why use one?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 40% of household water is used on lawn and yard watering. A rain barrel will save approximately 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months. Beyond the obvious cost savings on your water bill, a rain barrel also provides water that is better for your landscaping. According to JDNews from North Carolina, “Salt is not good for your plants. Salt will start to build up in the soil and make it harder for plants to grow and it becomes harder for the plants to take the moisture out of the soil. There is very little salt in rainwater.”  In addition, water in South Florida can contain high levels of chlorine and/ or limestone which can damage your plants and, in the case of the chlorine, damage fish and wildlife as part of the run off.

Where do I get one?

You can make one yourself quite simply. But, if you’re not feeling handy, there are many places selling them, both locally and online, including:

•      Ace Hardware: 866-290-5334

•      Gaiam produces the Great American Rain Barrel, 877-989-6321

•      Plow & Hearth: 800-494-7544

•      Rain Barrel Source: 866-912-9719

How do I install it?

The rain barrel is quite simple to install, the more important part of installation is ensuring the water has a run off spot in case the barrel fills up.

1. Place the barrel on a secure flat surface (a concrete slab rather than soil) next to your gutter run off. You may need to install or remove a piece of piping in case the spout doesn’t run off directly above the barrel. Here are instructions for doing just that: http://bit.ly/PALMbarrel

2. Make sure the spout sits directly above the barrel.

3. Finish the installation by diverting the run off away from your house. This is most important as the run off could damage your foundations if it’s a constant source of water sitting in one spot. Here is a video on how to do just that: http://bit.ly/PALMbarrel2

When should I use it?

In South Florida, we can use rain barrels almost all year round. You will need to take care that the barrel doesn’t freeze and crack in truly cold times, but this is South Florida, so that might be only one or two days a year! Considering installation is simple, cost to purchase is minimal and the fact that a rain barrel can preserve your lawn with no additional cost to you year round AND help to save our environment, a rain barrel is a worthwhile investment and one we fully recommend.

Have any questions? Our landscape experts love to show off!
Ask us a landscaping question, if we can’t answer it, we’ll track down the answer.

Palm Atlantic Landscape Maintenance is currently revamping their website. Please contact us at (954) 938-1999

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