Poisonous plants in Florida may be used as ornamental plants but they can be dangerous for pets, children, or birds. For this reason, it is better to always avoid planting these plants and also keep a safe distance from these plants where they bloom naturally.

Poisonous Plants in Florida to Avoid in Your Garden

However, to do this you must first know which plants are toxic and should be avoided in Florida. This article will help you learn about these plants so check out these plants’ descriptions below.

Different Kinds of Poisonous Plants in Florida

1. Castor Bean

Growing Season Summer
Leaf Shape Palmate
Specific Needs
  • Moist and rich soil
  • Full sun to part shade
Common Pests Spider mites

Castor Bean or Ricinus Communis is a highly toxic ornamental and agricultural plant native to many regions around the world, including Florida. This toxic plant is one that contains ricin, an exceptionally dangerous chemical that is a toxin which can prove fatal if ingested via ingestion or inhalation, and this hazard renders it unfit for private home cultivation.

Plant with a Dangerous History

However, castor bean has nonetheless been used causing significant fatalities in several instances. The plant takes readily to disturbed soils of roadside ditches, which consequently serves as one of the most common vectors of its dispersal into unmanaged areas further aggravated by birds unknowingly consuming the seeds during their travels, and this is how they would get cultivated.

2. Poison Ivy

Growing Season
  • Spring
  • Summer
Leaf Shape Rounded
Specific Needs
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Partial shade or full sunlight
Common Pests
  • Beetles
  • Flies

Poison ivy is a toxic plant widely found throughout Florida, releasing an allergenic oil known as urushiol when touched, it is beautiful leaf that does not act gently when touched.

Itchy Plant You Should Avoid

This plant has a toxic oil, which oil can cause severe skin irritation, lesions, and blisters, with symptoms. Residents should be aware that the plant is especially common in damp environments and along roadways and paths.

Additionally, poison ivy tends to spread at a rapid pace when it has adequate sunlight and access to water. You may tend to take control of this invasive species mostly requires avoidance and/or protective clothing while outdoors, but also includes mechanical removal or careful chemical application.

3. Poison Sumac

Growing Season
  • Summer
  • Spring
Leaf Shape
  • Pointy
  • Oval
Specific Needs
  • Shallow rocky dry soil
  • Part or full sunlight
Common Pests
  • Aphids
  • Spider mites

Poison Sumac is a poisonous plant native to the southeastern United States, including Florida. It grows as a medium-sized shrub in wetland habitats such as bogs, swamps, and marshy areas and is easily identified by its signature bright red stems with clusters of small white or yellowish berries. These areas are commonly found in this state, and can even grip in the air with wind, and irritate your skin.

A Deadly Plant to Watch Out For

Aside from contact dermatitis, which is characterized by an itchy rash that can last up to several weeks after touch exposure, poison sumac can cause severe irritation and allergic reactions if ingested. People should take precautions when around this plant by wearing protective clothing and shoes.

4. Angel’s Trumpet

Growing Season
  • Summer
  • Fall
Leaf Shape Oval
Specific Needs
  • Light, fertile soil
  • Full sun
Common Pests
  • Mealybugs
  • Whiteflies
  • Thrips

The angel’s trumpet is a poisonous plant native to tropical and subtropical parts of South America but is found in areas of Florida as well. It has beautiful aromatic flowers that can be white, yellow, pink, and even purple, making them a striking addition to landscaping or outdoor decor, as they would make the place look more vibrant and beautiful.

Beautiful Potentially Lethal Plant

However, throughout this beauty, it features a toxic compounds in the plant’s sap and seeds are potent inhibitors of the acetylcholinesterase enzyme which causes symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness, loss of coordination, dilated pupils, and convulsions. Consumption of angel’s trumpet parts can be fatal if not treated quickly, and if it is eaten or injested in a big quantity. 

5. Oleander

Growing Season
  • Spring
  • Summer
Leaf Shape
  • Linear
  • Lanceolate
Specific Needs
  • Full sun
  • Well-drained soil
Common Pests Aphids

Oleander or scientifically called Nerium Oleander is a highly toxic species of evergreen shrub native to Florida, as well as other parts of the southeastern and southwestern U.S., the Mediterranean region, and parts of Africa and Asia. The plant contains cardiac glycosides, which when consumed can be fatal to humans and animals at the same time, meaning in case you have it planted, and your pet ate it, it is a dangerous compound to their immune system.

Common Plant with a Deadly Secret

All parts of an Oleander plant are poisonous, from the leaves to the stem, which means that ingestion or skin contact with any part can cause serious illness or death. 

In addition to all, note that it has a hardiness and ornamental appeal, which is why the Oleander is still widely planted in various regions despite widespread knowledge of its toxicity, however, it should be handled carefully and kept out of reach from children and pets.

6. Rosary Pea

Growing Season All year round
Leaf Shape
  • Oval
  • Oblong
Specific Needs
  • Part or full sun
  • Loamy clay-type soil
Common Pests
  • Ants
  • Flies

Rosary Pea is a semi-woody, climbing vine native to the old world tropics and widely naturalized in tropical regions throughout the world. It has become an invasive species in Florida, where it outcompetes native vegetation and can form impenetrable thickets.

Decorative Plant with a Poisonous Past

It has intense toxic seeds that contain abrin, one of the most powerful known toxins, even in the most negligible quantity. As a result of the latter, ingestion of just a few seeds can be fatal, and thus care should be taken in contact with this plant. Even handling any portion of the plant whether it is the stem or flower—must be done carefully as the toxin can enter through wounds or mucous membranes.

7. Spotted Water Hemlock

Growing Season
  • Spring
  • Fall
Leaf Shape Lance-shaped
Specific Needs
  • Mulches on the ground
  • Full shade tolerable
Common Pests
  • Aphids
  • Mealybugs

The Spotted water hemlock is a highly toxic, annual, or biennial plant native to wetlands and seasonally moist areas in Florida. It can grow to nearly six feet high, and its umbrella-like umbel shaped, little white flowers that have been cluster into dense bunches at the top of the stem.

Poisonous Plant in North America

All parts of the spotted water hemlock are poisonous and contain multiple compounds which produce severe gastrointestinal symptoms. If consumed in large enough quantities, it can cause central nervous system effects including seizures, respiratory failure, and even death. Which would mean that this is an extremely important to take precautions when working around this plant.

8. Poison Oak

Growing Season Spring
Leaf Shape Rounded/irregular
Specific Needs
  • Full sunlight
  • Moist soil
Common Pests
  • Spider mites
  • Whiteflies

Poison Oak is a poisonous plant that can be found in the north, south and central parts of Florida. Its leaves are composed of three leaflets that typically cause an allergic skin reaction in humans when touched. Symptoms range from itching and reddish-purple blisters to severe inflammation and mild to extreme discomfort.

Allergen in the Great Outdoors

It is frequently seen near rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands, thickets, and woodlands throughout the state of Florida. An effective way to prevent contact with poison oak is for individuals to be aware of its distinct appearance and know how to identify it when out in nature, in order to avoid any type of distress.

9. Bracken Fern

Growing Season Spring
Leaf Shape Triangular
Specific Needs
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Moist, good-drained soil
Common Pests
  • Leafhoppers
  • Bracken borers
  • Fern moth caterpillars

Bracken fern is a poisonous plant native to Florida and commonly found in many moist environments, such as wetlands, bogs, and swamps, as they would grow in a wild manner in marshy areas. These Florida plants contain the toxin that is known as the ptaquiloside, which can be dangerous when consumed in large amounts

Common Wild Plant and Properties

In addition, bracken fern has been associated with various health problems in livestock when eaten over long periods. One of the symptoms that it has would be causing lethargy, which is lacking energy and having a loss of appetite.

The plant also serves as an ecological threat by rapidly colonizing open habitats and reducing the available light required for the growth of other native species. Bracken fern can prevent palatable plants from growing without mitigation efforts such as mowing or herbicide application.

10. Buttercups

Growing Season
  • Spring
  • Winter
Leaf Shape
  • Round
  • Kidney-shaped
Specific Needs
  • Partial shade
  • Moist soil
Common Pests
  • Bees
  • Flies
  • Wasps

Buttercups are toxic plants native to Florida and are commonly found growing alongside roadsides and in fields, forests, and wetlands. Buttercup toxins can cause skin irritation and rashes when touched, as well as stomach pains if eaten, and this venom is found in the sap, which is abundant of it.

A Flower with a Hidden Danger

The sap from this plant can also cause eye inflammation and temporary blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes, as they would be irritating. As such, it is important to avoid handling or ingesting this plant due to its toxicity, especially for children who may be unaware of the dangers of handling these plants.

11. Poinsettia

Growing Season Summer
Leaf Shape Star-shaped
Specific Needs
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun
Common Pests
  • Fungus gnats
  • Thrips
  • Shore flies

The Poinsettia plant is a popular festive decoration during the holiday season. They can cause skin irritation if touched and can be dangerous for children and pets if eaten in large quantities due to their sap-containing chemicals called diterpenoid euphorbol esters and mucilage.

Misunderstood Christmas Plant

The consequences of ingesting them may include dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, profuse urination, or excessive drooling, as your body will be in a stressed situation. 

In Florida specifically, the plant has been known to weather poorly under extreme heat and sunlight given its tropical origins, so it should be kept in shaded areas with plenty of water to ensure its longevity.

12. Gloriosa Lily

Growing Season
  • Summer
  • Fall
Leaf Shape
  • Ovate
  • Lance-shaped
Specific Needs
  • Full sun
  • Good-drained soil
Common Pests
  • Aphids
  • Anthracnose

The Gloriosa Lily is a perennial bulbous plant native to tropical and South Africa that is currently listed as an invasive species in many parts of Florida as well. In the wild, it grows vigorously in disturbed areas of undisturbed and often abandoned agricultural fields or pastures, typically where livestock has been removed. Its long shoots can climb trees up to eighteen feet high, providing some shade from the sun.

Stunning Flower with a Tainted History

 

Unfortunately, this plant carries a powerful poison known as colchicine found within all its parts such as stems, leaves, vines, and even the vibrant blooms which means that wholly it is not allowed to be eaten in any way. It causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and cramps if ingested by humans or animals.

Conclusion

Now that you are aware of different poisonous plants in Florida you can avoid cultivating these plants in your garden or take proper precautions before cultivating them for decoration. However, here is a summary of different plants and their toxicity,

  • Castor bean contains ricin which is not too deadly for humans but can be very dangerous for birds.
  • Poison ivy has allergenic oil which can cause serious irritation to the skin of humans.
  • Oleander has a chemical compound called cardiac glycosides which is harmful to both humans and pets.
  • Gloriosa lily contains colchicine which is a very powerful poison and can be found in different parts of this plant.

We hope from now on you will be careful about planting these plants or avoid them. Make sure you keep them in mind, and try to stay way from them, don’t touch and don’t even consume it, whether its the berries or the leaves. 

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