Perennials & Ornamental Grasses

8 very poisonous perennials in the garden


Poisonous perennials in the garden can cause poisoning symptoms in people and especially children. Our list shows 8 highly toxic specimens.

Don't worry: not every herbaceous plant is poisonous - © Andrea - Perennials in the garden with their sonorous names, magnificent flowers or tempting fruits delight hobby gardeners and viewers alike. However, some of them contain toxic substances that are fatal. Toddlers in particular like to explore their environment in a playful way, and it can happen that they taste leaves, flowers and fruits without hesitation. A small amount of plant material is enough in children to cause symptoms of intoxication.
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11 aconite (aconite)

The most poisonous of the native perennials is the aconite. It owes its name to the characteristic shape of its flower, which looks like an iron helmet, which knights and lansquenets wore as hoods in the Middle Ages. Depending on the variety, the monkshood is summer or autumn glowing. Its flowers can shine in the colors blue, light blue, cream or white and give an enticing picture in the herbaceous border. All parts of the Eisenhut plant are very toxic.

Valid active ingredients: Aconitin (alkaloid).
Consequences of poisoning: Hypothermia, cardiac / respiratory paralysis, convulsions, death 1. Aconite (aconite)

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22 lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)

The lily of the valley is one of the most popular spring bloomers. It exudes its characteristic fragrance from May to June. The white flowers are hemispherical. Its medium green leaves are broadly lanceolate and have a matt surface. The fruit decoration appears from July to September and shows itself as a bright red, pea-sized berry. The poisonous parts of the Mayflower plant are its leaves and flowers.

Toxic active ingredients: Convallatoxin (cardenolide).
Consequences of poisoning: Nausea, irregular heartbeat and circulatory collapse. Death may occur with a larger dose. 2. Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)

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33 Foxglove (Digitalis)

The Foxglove is a clump-forming and taut perennial. Its firm stems, which give the plant its upright, strong hold, are characteristic. The dark green leaves attached to it are ovoid. The flowers are grape to trumpet-shaped. Special varieties of foxglove are grown in Europe as medicinal plants for life-sustaining heart medication.

Toxic active ingredients: Digitoxin (cardenolide).
Consequences of poisoning: Irregular heartbeat, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, hallucinations. 3. Foxglove (digitalis)

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44 Delphinium (Delphinium Belladonna)

With its taut, upright inflorescences and single flowers in the colors blue, white or pink, delphinium is a popular bedside plant among hobby gardeners. Rose friends set this perennial as a rose cavalier to their 'queens'. The delphinium flower has a pointed, spur-like branch over its calyx. This gives the plant the perennial name. All parts of the delphinium plant are poisonous.

Toxic active ingredients: Elatin (alkaloid).
Consequences of poisoning: severe indigestion4. Delphinium (Delphinium belladonna)

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55 Christmas roses (Helleborus niger)

The Christmas rose looks particularly attractive with its bowl-shaped, snow-white flowers and the yellow striking stamens. This early-flowering perennial awakens the great anticipation of the upcoming garden season from January. The brilliant flowers of this unique perennial can be admired until April. The leaf is hand-shaped, the leaf margin 'sawn'. The leaf surface is coarse to shiny. The plant parts of the Christmas rose are all poisonous.

Toxic active ingredients: Hellebrigenin (bufadienolide)
Consequences of poisoning: severe heart problems 5. Christmas roses (Helleborus niger)

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66 Fall Timeless (Colchicum)

The real autumn timeless grows wild on moderately damp meadows. Cultivated varieties can be found in the garden. Each tuber produces several flowers that look great between other autumn bloomers and between half-height perennials. The pure species is particularly suitable for near-natural plantings, such as on a meadow, where it overgrows over time. All parts of the autumn timeless plant are highly toxic.

Toxic active ingredients: Colchicine (alkaloid).
Consequences of poisoning: Nausea, death from central respiratory paralysis6. Fall Timeless (Colchicum)

© Birute Vijeikiene -

77 Himalayan may apple (Podophyllum hexandrum)

With its bronze-colored shoots, the folded leaves, over which light pink flowers rise, the Himalayan may apple is a particularly decorative plant in the garden. The hand-lobed leaves gradually turn green and later often have a handsome marbling. The flowers form chicken-egg-sized, red, oval fruits, which are, however, poisonous. The rhizomes of the plants are also poisonous.

Toxic active ingredients: Podophyllotoxin.
Consequences of poisoning: Nausea and severe indigestion 7. Himalayan May Apple (Podophyllum hexandrum)

© Maria Brzostowska -

88 Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)

Bittersweet nightshade is particularly appealing in natural gardens by ponds when it can climb in the woods. The rather inconspicuous, purple flowers are followed by shiny red berries. The subshrub is a well-known, but highly toxic medicinal plant. All parts of the plant are highly toxic, especially the berries, which are attractive to children. The green, bitter fruits contain considerably more toxins than the sweet ones.

Toxic active ingredients: steroid alkaloids
Consequences of poisoning: the plant poison can lead to death