3 Plants that Can Really Mess You Up

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3 Plants That Will Really Mess You Up

We live inside an amazing biosphere that harbors some absolutely amazing plants. We rely on our plants to provide oxygen, give us food, and heal our bodies. While there are thousands of toxic plants, there are also some that won’t necessarily kill you, but they will really mess you up.

Here are 3 plants that have weird effects.

1. Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia amoena)

- Dieffenbachia amoena - 3 Plants that Can Really Mess You Up dumbcaneEffect: Makes you unable to speak

This common houseplant creates some very unpleasant sensations if you (or your pets) chew it.

If you chew the leaves or stems, the cells release raphides, or calcium oxalate crystals. These little crystals will cause a burning sensation, an increase in saliva, and inflammation in your mouth, throat, and stomach. This inflammation leaves you unable to speak. This is how it became dubbed “dumbcane”, because it leaves people “dumb” (i.e., unable to talk).

It doesn’t usually kill people, but it is much more toxic to animals. So if your cat or dog eats it, there’s a good chance they could die.

2. Datura stramonium

- datura - 3 Plants that Can Really Mess You Up datura
Effect: Act like a zombie

Datura is a flowering vine that goes by many names. Some of its common names include: moonflower, jimsonweed, devil’s weed, hell’s bells, thorn-apple, and devil’s trumpet.

If you’re old enough, you might remember the 1988 Wes Craven movie called Serpent and the Rainbow. That movie was based on a book written by ethnobotanist Wade Davis.

Wade Davis went to Haiti to investigate the case of a Clairvius Narcisse who was declared dead in 1962 by two different American physicians and buried. But then, in 1981, 19 years later, his sister discovered him walking down the street. When he resurfaced, he acted like a real-life zombie – dragging his feet, amnesia, limited speech, etc.

Davis found that Voodoo priests were using a mixture that made a person seem dead (undetectable heartbeat). After burial, the person was dug up and was, in effect, an obedient zombie. Wealthy individuals would use these people to work on their plantations.

It’s believed that the mixture contained tetrodotoxin to mimic death and Datura to make the person act like a zombie.

Datura is toxic and can kill you.  If you ingest it and it doesn’t kill you, though, it will cause:

  • Delirium(usually involving a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy)
  • High body temperature
  • Racing heart
  • Bizarre and possibly violent behavior
  • Amnesia
  • Photophobia (extreme sensitivity to light)

3.Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)

- giant hogweed - 3 Plants that Can Really Mess You Up giant hogweed
Effect: Burns and Lesions that can last for years

This weed grows 6-18 feet tall, and it is not a plant you want to encounter.

The leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds of the plant all contain a chemical compound called furanocoumarin. When you touch the plant, you get this compound on you, and it reacts with sunlight. Immediately, your skin turns red and starts itching. Then you form blisters, and it can burn through all layers of your skin. It can leave purple lesions and scars which last for years. Usually, hospitalization is a necessity.

While plants are the reason for our continued existence, they can also be your worst nightmare. These three plants will really mess you up.

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Michele Swensen is a writer and web designer who loves learning, animals, writing, reading, and playing the piano. She’s a member of Mensa and a college graduate.

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- michele profile2 - 3 Plants that Can Really Mess You Up
Michele Swensen is a writer and web designer who loves learning, animals, writing, reading, and playing the piano. She’s a member of Mensa and a college graduate.
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