Little shop of horrors: the Australian plants that can kill you

By The Logical Place

The Logical Place

The Conversation

Ben Moore, Western Sydney University

Australia is so famous for its dangerous creatures that visitors often arrive fearful that everything that moves is out to get them. In a land where snakes, spiders, shells and even one of the iconic mammals – the platypus – can bite or sting, should we all be worried about plants as well?

Plants around the world produce a staggering diversity of chemicals and many of these are potentially toxic to animals including humans, sometimes even upon contact. Many of these toxins have evolved to protect plant roots, leaves and unripe fruits from being eaten by herbivores, particularly insects and browsing mammals.

Australia’s toxic plants are not terribly appealing or nutritious for humans. If someone is poisoned, it’s usually accidental, and many victims are curious children.

There are many historical records of plant poisoning in Australia involving early explorers and settlers who were…

View original post 659 more words

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