Recently in the news there have been reports of plants causing blisters or being poisonous, as if this had never been discovered before.
Well, as a favour to all the loyal Town and Country customers here is a list of the top plants to avoid in the family garden and why.
1. Monkshood (Aconitum). Beautiful. All parts deadly poisonous.
2. Euphorbia species. The plant contains a sap that burns the throat and eyes.
3. Box. (Buxus). The plant sap contains a substance known as buxine that can burn the throat if ingested.
4. Stagshorn (Rhus). The leaves contain a substance that creates painful blisters on the skin.
5. Giant Hogweed. A Gertrude Jeykll favourite. The leaves and stems contain a substance that can cause the skin to blister in the sun.
6. Laburnum. A member of the pea family the seeds look edible. Don't believe this. I spent a day in hospital having my stomach pumped when I was four years old because I thought they were good snacks. A similar plant with pea like seeds is broom.
7. Solanum. Any member of the potato family has the distinct ability to poison if not treated with care. Some more than others. Deadly Nightshade is one to avoid!
8. Rhododendron. The leaves are toxic.
9. Chrysanthemums. The leaves can cause an allergic reaction and the flowers are quite toxic.
10. Wysteria. Another beautiful and toxic plant that has pea-like fruit. Is there a theme here?
11. Sweet Pea. My children love eating peas straight from the plant, but I have to make sure they always ID the plant before they ingest anything!
Whilst talking of ingesting seeds and berries, try to identify what you have in your hand. The fashion for wild foraging is growing and so too are the incidents of accidental poisoning.
There are many plants that look pretty, that are not in any way shape or form to be consumed. A short list of the ones you may come across every day is: Holly, Ivy, Asparagus, Horse-chestnut, Broom, Spindle tree, Oak and Privet. Interestingly Yew leaves and the seed in the berry are toxic. However the red pulp is not - but I do not recommend you try this out!