Deadly Nightshade Plants

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A variety of attractive plants commonly found in many yards and gardens are poisonous. Deadly nightshade is a flowering ornamental that is considered highly toxic. Placing this plant in your yard or garden is not recommended for those who have small children and pets that frequently spend time outdoors. Consuming any part of the deadly nightshade can produce toxic effects.

Identification

  • Deadly nightshade is also known as belladonna and by its scientific name of Atropa belladonna. This flowering ornamental produces green foliage, red sap and flowers in shades of reddish-purple or greenish-purple. Deadly nightshade produces attractive, glossy berries that are purple-black. This flower is often used in landscape settings as an accent plant.

Human Potential

  • Deadly nightshade plants are poisonous plants and consuming the flowers or leaves of the plant produces symptoms of plant poisoning. The berries contain the highest concentration of the toxic alkaloid tropane and atropine. Those who ingest parts of this plant may experience rapid pulse, dilated pupils, fever, dry skin, hot flushed skin, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, burning of the throat and severe headache. People who have consumed portions of this plant died within a short time of ingestion.

Animal Potential

  • Deadly nightshade is a dangerous plant to have at home if you have pets. Deadly nightshade is poisonous to dogs, cats and horses. Animals that consume any portion of this plant may experience diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, gastrointestinal discomfort, excessive salivation, inappetence, confusion, weakness, slow heart rate, dilated pupils and central nervous system depression.

Considerations

  • Contact your doctor or veterinarian if deadly nightshade plants are consumed. This is important even if a small portion of the plant is consumed or no symptoms are yet present. Consuming plant material can also cause serious allergic reactions that may cause symptoms such as hives, wheezing, difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips, swelling of the tongue and swelling of the throat. Children are at an increased risk of choking on plant parts.

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