There are many different types of poisonous flowers, whether they are grown as indoor or outdoor ornaments or appear as weeds and wildflowers. Some examples include foxglove, hemlock, and pokeweed. Identifying poisonous flowers is frequently a concern of parents and pet owners, and may influence the choice of plants they keep inside and outside of the home. Often animals instinctively avoid poisonous flowering plants because of their usually bitter scent. Young children, however, may ingest poisonous flowers unknowingly. Possible symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and irregular heartbeat.
Foxglove is one example of a poisonous flower that is often planted in ornamental gardens. While prized for its tall, flower-bearing central stalks, all parts of the plant can cause severe sickness and possibly death if eaten. The flowers and leaves of some varieties of the genus rhododendron can also result in extreme discomfort if they are eaten. In fact, the honey made from rhododendrons may be enough to make a person ill. Azaleas, which are related to rhododendrons, are also poisonous if eaten.
Wild poisonous flowers include hemlock, or poison hemlock, all parts of which can cause illness or death. Similar in appearance to poison hemlock, the water hemlock grows poisonous tubers that some have mistaken as being edible. Another very poisonous wildflower is jimsonweed, which can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall and has toothed leaves and white trumpet-like flowers. The plant contains enough poison to kill an adult human. Wild poisonous flowers of the genus solanum include deadly nightshade, also known as belladonna, and bittersweet nightshade.
Some wild flowering plants may be attractive to children because of their colorful but poisonous berries. One such example is pokeweed, a tall plant that can be recognized by its bright red or purple stalk. After flowering, the plant bears dark purple berries that grow in grape-like clusters but are very toxic if eaten. While the entire plant is also poisonous, parents might wish to uproot it before the potentially tempting berries appear. Other flowering plants that produce poisonous berries are the blue cohosh and the plants known collectively as baneberry.
A few flowering plants associated with the Christmas holidays can also be toxic if eaten. The holly leaves used to decorate home interiors are not in themselves poisonous, but the attached red berries can cause nausea if eaten and possibly worse symptoms. The mistletoe plant used to celebrate New Year's Eve is also poisonous. While perhaps not as poisonous as some of its near relatives, all parts of the poinsettia plant could cause nausea or vomiting in children and pets.