Depiction of a native being consumed by a Ya-te-veo ("I see you") carnivorous tree of Central America, from Land and Sea by J.W. Buel, 1887.
Unless you’re a zombie, you wont remember a story way back in the mid 1800s about the German Explorer Carl Liche. According to Australian authorities Mr Liche saw a Ya te Veo (“I See You”) plant grab a woman with its tentacles and swallow her whole
In its time, this story captured notoriety across the globe. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the story was debunked by a group of know it alls who felt that it was probably more likely that either the German Explorer killed her himself and attempted to cover it up to avoid going to jail (authorities were easier to fool back then) or that the German Explorer named Carl Liche never truly existed.
Now, our research shows us that such plants don’t exist, but we have found some similar (although toned down) versions of some pretty dangerous and badass plants that you really don’t want to mess with.
First lets take a look at a “Real” Pitcher Plant.
The largest of the pitcher plants is known as Nepenthes, and eats small rodents and lizards. (Who knows? Maybe the Dinosaurs went extinct from an abundance of giant carnivorous plants?)
Now this is the biggest of all the picture plants, and it still probably couldn’t handle a really freaked out squirrel (although we believe it would be funny to find out) so this type of plant is not really a threat to humans.
Now lets look at some that are:
#1. Deadly nightshade
Ralph: "I ated the purple berries!" Bart: "How do they taste Ralph?" Ralph: "It tastes like ... burning"
Deadly Nightshade Sounds like a really badass name for a female ninja. Why do we think that? because at Daft Gadgets we have a thing for Femme Fatales.
However, “Deadly Nightshade” is actually the moniker for a more commonly known plant named “Bella Donna” which literally translates into Pretty Lady. (We’re using lady over woman to not add confusion with the Richard Gere Julia Roberts film that will eventually become a #1 Broadway musical)’
Bella Donna takes its name from the historic use by women to become more attractive. Yes, we know what you are thinking, intoxication makes “Other” people attractive from the perspective of the drunk, not the other way around. However, for whatever reason women used to take this drug to enlarge their pupils believing big pupils to be very attractive?
“Hey Lindsay, check out the pupils on that guy!”
Belladonna is rarely used cosmetically in modern times due to the minor visual distortions, inability to focus on near objects, and increased heart rate, and blindness caused from prolonged usage.
That and their size fetishes have moved to other parts of the body.
“What’s so Dangerous about it?”
Well the symptoms associated with “using” too much belladonna generally dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia (fast heartbeat), loss of balance, staggering like a fool, headache, rashes, slurred speech, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, and convulsion.
Now we know a lot of these symptoms sound like something from your local neighborhood drunk, so to give you an idea of just how badass this poison is, think about it like this
- 2-5 berries to become lethal to children
- 10 – 20 for adults.
- Its root is toxic, and
- one single leaf can kill a human.
“This sounds dangerous, where will I come across belladonna?”
Other than most recreational psychedelic endeavors, the most common place to come across such a substance in during laser eye surgery. Lasik vision correction and other eye surgery uses atropine, one of the poisons in deadly nightshade, to dilate the patient’s pupils before operating.
Eye surgery on a hallucinogenic is definitely something we can only believe would be a really bad trip, but apparently, doctors know best.
#2. Castor bean
“This thing doesn’t look scary at all, it kind of looks like a nice Christmas mistletoe. What’s so dangerous about it?”
Its the most poisonous plant in the world. A lethal dose of Castor beans is around 4 – 8 seeds. Once you ingest them you can look forward to a burning in throat, abdominal pain, pooping blood, and other wonderful ailments.
Don’t worry though, if it goes untreated these horrible symptoms only last for 3-5 days. Then death usually cures you.
Now unchewed seeds may pass without harm, so to get accurate readings some scientist probably crushed them up and fed them to the following innocent animals in order to find out how to keep you safe, so pay attention
- 4 seeds to kill a rabbit,
- 5 seed to kill a sheep,
- 6 seeds to kill oxes or horses,
- 7 seed to kill a pig, and
- For some odd reason Ducks can eat up to 80 seeds!
“These things sound kind of dangerous where will I run into them?”
This highly poisonous plant is used as a decorative in parks and other public areas, and particularly as a “dot plant” in traditional bedding schemes. So you may find it on a local Greece sidewalk or in your home town park.
Luckily most people nowadays don’t go around eating trees.
#3. Rosary Pea
“What’s do dangerous about the Rosary Pea?”
Well, less than 3 micrograms of abrin in the body is enough to kill, which means there is more than enough poison in one pea to kill you.
“Wow, this thing sounds dangerous, where will I come across it?”
Possibly from your spouse or lover. The rosary pea gives new meaning to the phrase “Till death do us part.” Commonly used in jewelry, it has long been a symbol of love in China. Its Chinese name is xiang si dou, or “mutual love bean”.
Often used in jewelry, the rosary pea poses a greater danger to the jewelry maker than to the wearer. There are many reported cases of death when jewelry makers prick a finger while handling the rosary pea, so making the jewelry must also be a labor of love.
You may also find it on your quest to destroy the ring of power.
In Trinidad in the West Indies the brightly colored seeds are strung into bracelets and worn around the wrist or ankle to ward off jumbies or evil spirits and “mal-yeux” – the evil eye
#4. Water Hemlock
"I Killed Socrates!"
“It looks okay, what’s so dangerous about it?”
The water hemlock is considered by many to be the most deadly plant on the continent. The water hemlock’s white roots are also sometimes mistaken for a parsnip plant, which is a potentially fatal error. For those unlucky enough to taste this parsnip impostor, the onset of illness is rapid. The cicutoxin contained in the plant causes violent and painful convulsions, nausea, vomiting, cramps and muscle tremors. Those who survive the poisoning experience long-term health conditions, such as amnesia, which is really bad if they don’t remember that the hemlock is poisonous and end up eating it again.
Additional neurological symptoms may include hallucinations, delirium, tingling, pricking, or numbness of a person’s skin, dilated pupils, and coma
“This thing sounds horrible, where will I come across it?”
The wildflower, which grows to 6 feet (1.8 meters), thrives along stream banks, in marshy areas, and in low-lying, damp meadows. Typically, they grow in wet habitats by ponds and streams, marshes, swamps, or other areas that country kids like to play in.
Its most commonly found throughout Northern North America, but can also be found in central Europe.
“This flower is beautiful, what’s so dangerous about it?”
The gastrointestinal effects can consist of nausea and vomiting, excess salivation, abdominal pain, diarrhea that may or may not contain blood and can include drowsiness, tremors or shaking of the muscles, seizures, collapse, and even coma that can lead to death.
In fact, an oleander’s poison is so strong, that it can poison a person who simply eats the honey made by bees that have digested oleander nectar!
It is one of the most poisonous plants in the world and contains numerous toxic compounds, many of which are deadly to people, especially young children. it only takes a single ingested oleander leaf to kill a child.
“Wow, that does sound dangerous especially to children. Where will I come across this dangerous plant?”
Yes, oleander is often grown in school yards. However it is native to Mauritania, Morocco, and Portugal eastward through the Mediterranean region and the Sahara (where it is only found sporadically), to the Arabian peninsula, southern Asia, and as far East as Yunnan in southern parts of China. It typically occurs around dry stream beds.
In the USA Oleander can be found as far north as the Outer Banks of North Carolina or commonly as a highway divider in Southern California, which is probably just one more reason to stay in your car.
If you know of any common poisonous plants that people may accidentally come across, please share. Knowledge is power.