10 Dangerous Plants Hiding In Your Backyard And How To Spot Them


We all know that there are a bunch of plants that can be really dangerous for you and your family, but how do you know which ones they are? It can get be a little bit hard to keep track of which plants are safe and which ones can leave you scratching, sick, or worse.

At least if you know what to look out for, you can keep everyone in your house safe, including the animals. You don't have to get rid of them all either just be cautious of how they are handled.

Check for these plants in your garden or in your backyard so you aren't caught by surprise.

1. Lily of the Valley

The pretty white bell-shaped flowers are actually very dangerous when consumed. Obviously most people don't eat them on purpose, but if a child grabs them, or a pet, it can be really dangerous.

It's got cardiac glyosides in it, which will cause dizziness, vomiting, rashes, and diarrhea. If it's not treated it can even lead to death.

2. Castor Oil Plant

Even though castor oil is one of those home essentials that can do it all, the plant itself can be really dangerous.

The seeds are highly poisonous, so much so that a single seed can kill a child because of the high toxicity.

3. Rhubarb

I know what you're thinking, "rhubarb pies are delicious, how is it dangerous?" but it's not actually the part you eat that causes the issue. It's the leaves themselves. they can cause your kidneys to shut down, which is obviously not good for you in the least.

4. Lilies

The beautiful flower that you find in many bouquets and in almost every persons garden is actually extremely toxic to cats.

Even just a small amount can cause a cat's kidneys to fail, so make sure you keep those beautiful lilies away from them.

5. Hydrangea

The beautiful floral bushes are quite stunning, but the plant itself is toxic. Eating hydrangea flowers has the same effect as cyanide.

It has cyanogenic glycosides inside, which can cause dizziness, fainting, and a severe and sudden drop in blood pressure that can cause convulsions.

6. Water Hemlock

The plant looks kind of like Queen Anne's Lace flowers, but this one is extremely dangerous. Everything down to the roots are toxic.

It's known as the "most violently toxic plant that grows in North America" according to the USDA. It can render a person dead within 15 minutes of digesting it after the poison cicutoxin attacks the central nervous system.

7. Stinging Nettles

Obviously it's right there in the name, it stings when you touch it. But it's sometimes hard to recognize when you're out working in the yard.

Stinging Nettles are usually a single-stalked plant, and it can grow up to nine feet tall. The leaves will be oval or lance-shaped and about 2 inches long, with serrated edges down the sides and small hairs sticking up all around.

There are also small flower clusters along the plant, and they look like little light-colored pods. They can however be found all over the place, so be careful.

8. Rhododendron

The beautiful shrubs make a nice addition to a garden, but if you end up swallowing any part of the plant you'll find yourself extremely sick very quickly.

It causes nausea, vomiting, a drop in blood pressure, and can even put you into a coma.

9. Daffodil


The bright yellow flowers can actually cause a lot of issues with dogs, because if they dig them up they may suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, tremors, or even cardiac arrhythmia.

If you want the bright yellow flowers to brighten up your garden in the spring, make sure your dog stays out of it.

10. Poison Ivy

Of course there is always poison ivy. The invasive plant can really ruin your time outside because it causes blisters, itching, swelling, and it can last a lot longer than you thought.

Luckily, it's not as poisonous as some of these other plants, but anyone who has had poison ivy knows just how uncomfortable it can be.

Tips for identifying poisonous plants in the wild

1. "Leaves in three, let it be"

Many poison plants have leaves that grow in sets of three. If you see three leaves at the end of a branch, check that all the leaves fall into a group of three (obviously without touching it) and if everything is in little trios, leave it alone.

2. "Alternate isn't great"

If the leaves alternate sides of the branch and position, making it so they aren't directly across from each other, then you are likely dealing with something poisonous.

3. Familiarize yourself with the area

The best way to stay safe is to know what you're going into. If you're going camping or adventuring out in the wilderness, do a quick google search of the area and familiarize yourself with which plants are known to grow in the area.

Source - Good Housekeeping / Be Prepared / The Spruce / This Old House