7 Beautiful but Deadly Plants for National Houseplant Appreciation Day [PHOTOS]
You’ve probably let it sneak up on you again. You’ve been so busy getting back to work and shaking off those winter blues that you almost forgot January 10th is Houseplant Appreciation Day. This is not a day that should go unnoticed.
The green thumbs at The Gardener’s Network established Houseplant Appreciation Day to remind people about their indoor botantical buddies after the rush of the holiday season has passed and to celebrate the benefits of houseplants and encourage green thumbs.
And, they’re right. Houseplants deserve a lot of appreciation. If you think about it, they don’t ask for much and they’re very easy to live with. However, this is not true of all plants. Some of them can kill you, like the plant Gelsemium elegans, which a man in China put in a stew to kill a business rival.
So, to help you appreciate your houseplant on Houseplant Appreciation Day 2012, here are a list of seven plants that would just as soon see you dead.
Monkshood – Aconitum napellus – Not to put too fine a point on it, this would be an easy plant to make a poison soup out of. It looks beautiful (and is rather common) in a garden and the root is tasteless in a stew, but when consumed its poisonous alkaloid aconite content causes asphyxiation.
Oleander – Nerium oleander - Another handy suppertime slayer is oleander. This is a pretty plant that is pretty deadly. The flowers are a bright addition to a garden, but beware, the leaves, flowers and fruit of this trickster contain a substance that will send someone into cardiac arrest.
Giant Pitcher Plant – Nepenthes attenboroughii – Here’s a plant that knows how it’s done. It knows you can’t have a feast until you catch a beast. This plant has a bowl-like structure into which bugs and small animals will fall. The plant then releases a toxin that kills the unwitting creatures and consumes them completely, right there in its lovely bowl.
White Snakeroot – Eupatorium rugosum – Not content to kill small animals and call it a day, this plant actually killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother. Livestock eat the plant, which contains an alcohol called tremetol that causes tremors in the livestock before killing them. And, if someone should happen to drink the milk of a cow that has consumed white snakeroot, that person will get the same tremors and die. Small colonies of settlers were nearly wiped out by this plant.
Angel Trumpet – Brugmansia – This plant might not kill you, but it could ruin your life. The angel trumpet contains a cocktail of toxins that, when merely absorbed by the skin, will cause a victim to remain completely conscious but not remember a single thing. Basically, someone could blow the powder in your face and then have you empty your bank accounts for them, or just about any other horrible thing you can think of. This plant is a jerk is what we're saying.
Western Water Hemlock – Cicuta douglasii – Fairytale witches have been using hemlock in their potions and brews for centuries. They must know a thing or two because the USDA named hemlock the most violently toxic plant in North America. This is not the same hemlock that killed Socrates, though. Water hemlock causes grand mal seizures and eventually death. Coincidentally, it’s in the carrot family.
Venus Flytrap – Dionaea muscipula – We can’t forget our old friend the Venus flytrap. This plant is clearly an animal in the witness protection program. Of course, the flytrap would actually make a fine houseplant because it is satisfied with the kind of small prey that annoys us in our homes. You may get a finger pinched, but it would be worth it to watch pesky flies get snapped up by your plant every time they landed on it.
Although, you can’t deny how frightening a Venus flytrap might be if it grew a bit larger and craved human flesh.