Poisonous precautions
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As part of their natural defense mechanism, many plants contain alkaloids and glycosides. Although you won't find most of these at your garden center, it's still good to know your enemies in the naturalscape.

What's interesting to note is how many of our agricultural crops carry potentially toxic poisons. Look at Rheum x cultorum (common rhubarb) which contains soluble oxalates and anthraquinone glycosides in the leaves that causes all sorts of problems if taken internally, even small amounts.

And of course there's the opposite story about those bright red berries brought back from the new world that nobody would dare to eat -- Solanum lycopersicum, our very safe and very edible garden tomato. (In fact, some members of the Solanum genus [nightshades] do contain a steroidal glyco-alkaloid which causes solanine poisoning.)


   Index to potentially poisonous plants


Toxicodendron diversilobum

Pacific poison oak

This climbing ivy sports leaves with a variety of forms making it difficult to spot with certainty. But every autumn the leaves turn bright red making it a dead give-away.

Last reviewed November 01, 2004   


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