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Plants That Can Kill

The autopsy reports on two California brothers who were two and three years old on Tuesday was the first confirmed accidental deaths by oleander poisoning in Los Angeles history. The boys, adopted from Siberia, were thought to have ingested unusually large amounts of the common shrubbery plant. But it doesn't always take much. A single oleander leaf can be fatal, as can the leaves and roots of many other common household plants and shrubs.


Scott Appell, director of education of Horticultural Society of New York, talked to us about the toxicity of some plants.


Plants develop toxicity in order to spare them from ingestion by animals and insects. In other words, it's a survival technique. Surprisingly many common plants, shrubs and houseplants can be fatal to humans and animals, as below:


Fatal if eaten: Azalea, Datura, English ivy, Foxglove, Lily of the Valley, Monkshood, Mountain Laurel, Narcissus and Rhododendron are irritants but not killers.


You can still incorporate these items in your garden but try raised beds or on hills, difficult for children to reach. Also in the home, put these plants up and away.


If you're adopting pets or planning to have children, learn all you can about what's growing in and around your home. People are so careful about what's in their medicine cabinets, these substances can be just as harmful.

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