Quite often a seedling will pop up out of the garden and out of curiosity, I usually let them grow to see what they turn into. This was the case recently, when I let grow what I thought was a herb, seeing as it was in the vicinity of where I’d been growing various herbs and scented geraniums (pelargoniums).
It had a feathery, ferny appearance and looked a little like coriander, flat leaf parsley or was it a carrot? I crushed a little and smelled … it was neither and thankfully I didn’t end up taste testing it (you know that little inner voice saying noooooo!) because after a little research, it was hemlock … HEMLOCK (Conium maculatum)! WHAT!!!
After reading the Brisbane City Council Weed Identification Tool, THAT was what I’d been looking after – a widespread weed in this area and HIGHLY POISONOUS! People have died from thinking it was a ‘salad’ ingredient. Socrates, the famous philosopher was the tragic victim of being poisoned with this ‘weed’. I was worried that I’d even sniffed it.
There are many plants around us that perhaps we don’t realise just how toxic they can be. Those plants living among us, sharing our lives indoors – they too could be a killer! Not in the knife-wielding maniac way, but in all seriousness, I have all 4 of these robust and hard to kill indoor plants
lurking living in my home and while they provide a filter for clean air – just be sure that you, your children or your pets don’t take a nibble on them …
AKA ZZ Plant, ZeeZee Plant and Zanzibar Gem
All parts are toxic for you and your pets. Even when handling, use gloves.
AKA Arrowhead Plant
Intense burning and irritation of the mouth, nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
Poisonous for you and your pets.
AKA Dumb Cane
Called Dumb Cane for a reason. Not just because it would be a stupid thing to do to eat it. Tongue, lips and throat swell and burn causing you to become dumb (unable to speak) and may block your airway. Highly toxic for pets and humans.
AKA White Flag and Peace Lily
Do not let this be a Rest in Peace Lily. Oral burning and irritation, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
Toxic for you and your pets.
So, how many of these common indoor house plants do you have? Just be sure that if you do have inquisitive little ones, cats or dogs, do your research for plant toxicity and maybe not have the poisonous ones at all for the time being – there are still plenty of non-toxic varieties to choose – but again … RESEARCH.
Of course, if you fear that poisoning may have occurred, immediately call your Poisons Information Line or (Emergency) Vet in the case of furry friends.