Serious poisoning by plants is not common in the UK. Some garden plants present a hazard, but the risk of severe poisoning, skin reaction or allergy is generally low.
MadeForMums got the low-down on 10 common plants that could pose a risk from Guy Barter, chief horticultural advisor for the Royal Horticultural Society.
“Certain plants have the potential to cause harm, but hardly ever do,” says Guy. “Remember, it’s not just children but also pets that can be vulnerable, too.”
“The vast majority of accidents in the garden involve falling off ladders and hardly anyone gets hurt by plants. It’s more a question of awareness and educating children about plants,” says Guy.
One mum is warning against the dangers of hogweed after her son suffered serious, painful burn-like blisters on his hands and arms, says the Mail Online.
While it’s a pretty plant (often found beside riverbanks and along paths), the sap is toxic. It can causes the aforementioned blistering and extreme sensitivity to sunlight. If it gets in the eyes, it can cause blindness.
Avoid touching or even playing near hogweed. If your child comes into contact with the plant, the NHS website advises:
“If you touch a giant hogweed, cover the affected area, and wash it with soap and water. The blisters heal very slowly and can develop into phytophotodermatitis, a type of skin rash which flares up in sunlight. If you feel unwell after contact with giant hogweed, speak to your doctor.”
“If eaten, they could cause harm and sickness,” Guy says. “The bulbs could be mistaken for garlic or a spring onion.”
“It has been reported that the sap can cause skin irritation and dermatitis, but I haven’t come across any instances of this actually happening in practice.”
“Chilli peppers are a tasty vegetable, but as anyone who has chopped up a chilli and rubbed their eye knows, it can be extremely painful,” says Guy.
“They are a skin and eye irritant, they might burn tender skin and can be transferred to eyes and lips on the fingers,” he adds.
“Children could be vulnerable if not taught about avoiding and taking care with washing hands after handling chillis.”
“This is one of those plants you might find around the garden and mistake for something else, and it’s poisonous if eaten, but you’d have to eat an awful lot of it,” says Guy.
“If eaten, it can cause nausea, vomiting, visual disorders and heart problems,” he explains.