Most Australians are familiar with our country’s dangerous creatures - from spiders and snakes to bluebottles and jellyfish - but are less knowledgeable about our poisonous plants.
Animals and children are most at risk from accidental poisoning.
While small amounts are unlikely to cause permanent damage or death, there are exceptions, and it’s vital that you’re aware of what’s growing in your garden.
Australia’s most poisonous plants
The abundant fruits of this common native tree contain a mixture of poisons including neurotoxins. These are apparently tolerated by most birds, which help to disperse the plant’s seeds, but are toxic to humans in quantity.
Mostly confined to Western Australia, these flowers produce the metabolic toxin sodium fluoroacetate. This is used to poison rabbits, foxes and wild dogs. Many native marsupials in WA have built up a tolerance of this compound.
This Queensland rainforest plant is a member of the nettle family. Contact with the leaves or inhalation of the stoning hairs releases potent neurotoxins which cause excruciating pain which can last for weeks or months.
Also known as “blind your eye mangrove”, its milky latex can cause temporary blindness and the smoke from fires made with its wood is poisonous.
A close relative of the tara, conjevoi is rich in needles of oxalate, called raphides, and ingestion can result in painful swelling and irritation of the mouth and gut. Can cause death.
Also known as rosary pea, this plant has become invades and is spreading across Queensland and northern NSW. Its brightly coloured red and black seeds contain enough of the toxin abrin to kill an adult many times over.
These pretty flowers are members of the dogbane family, which produce cardiac glycosides. These disturb normal heart function leading to death in sufficient does. Yellow oleander is responsible for numerous deaths in India and Sri Lanka.
In case of emergency or for any enquiries, call the Poisons Information Line 24 hours a day from anywhere in Australia on 13 11 26.