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10 of the Scariest Plants In the World According to Botanists

Blonde woman looking scared with her hand covering most of her face.

We all know about poison ivy and oak, but what are the real big baddies of the plant world? That’s what one plant-lover, or at least plant enthusiast, wants to know. They ask about the “scariest plants” in an online forum, and there are almost too many fascinating and terrifying answers for comfort. 

1. Gympie Gympie

Gympie Gympie Plant

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Several people agree that the gympie-gympie plant is one of the scariest things, plant or not, to exist. The plant is covered in hairs that cause an excruciating sting and can last for years as the hairs are tough to remove. As one user points out, the recommended treatment “is applying hydrochloric acid,” which speaks to how horrifying the plant is. 

2. Manchineel Tree

Manchineel Tree

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There’s a reason that we’re taught as children not to take and eat any fruit from any plant or tree. Some fruit, like that of the manchineel tree, looks similar to other fruits we know and even tastes good if you take a bite.

But after some time, the taste turns into a burning, and the eater’s throat begins to swell, making it difficult to swallow. But that’s just the fruit, and in the case of the manchineel tree, every part of the tree is toxic to humans. 

3. Datura Stramonium/Jimson Weed

Datura Stramonium/Jimson Weed

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This plant isn’t scary for people touching it, but it has a lot in store for anyone who ingests it. Datura Stramonium, also called the Jimson weed or the locoweed, has powerful hallucinogenic capabilities.

However, unlike more common recreational hallucinogens whose effects users can recognize as hallucinations, anyone who ingests datura stramonium will not know that they are hallucinating and will have extreme difficulty discerning between reality and fantasy. 

4. Castor Bean Plant 

Castor Bean Plant

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One botanist notes the dangers of the reasonably common Castor Bean Plant, whose seeds contain high levels of the toxin ricin. They share a story about how their boss was hospitalized for over a week after burning the plant during a yard clearing.

That leads another to point out that ricin is a key plot point in Breaking Bad and “‘substances that were a plot point in Breaking Bad’ is a category of things to avoid.”

5. Water Hemlock

Water Hemlock

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Several botanists discuss the dangers of the nearly indistinguishable Queen Anne’s lace, which can be eaten for significant nutritional value, and poisonous water hemlock. Of course, any poisonous plant is scary, but the proximity to a potentially life-saving plant makes water hemlock so dangerous. 

6. Nepenthes Plants 

Nepenthes Plants 

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A significant discussion breaks out in the thread about which of the many plants in the Nepenthes family was the most terrifying. One person says Nepenthes ampullaria is the scariest because it evolved to eat insects, evolved even further to eat falling leaves, and is now an omnivorous plant.

Another says that Nepenthes truncata is the real horror in the family as it consumes all sorts of animals, including mammals, amphibians, and birds. Others still disagree and say they think Nepenthes hamata or bicalcarata are the scariest in this family of carnivorous plants.  

7. Aconitum Napellus/Monkshood

Aconitum Napellus/Monkshood

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Aconitum napellus, also known as Monkshood, is a plant that can be deadly to anyone who touches it. The plant’s poison can enter the body through pores and affects the heart within hours of touching it. It’s even worse if someone were to ingest it. 

8. Hogweed


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Numerous botanists discuss the dangers of the various hogweeds, especially the giant hogweed. Every subspecies of this plant is an invasive species, and each one is toxic to humans.

But the giant hogweed is larger and more poisonous than its siblings. Like water hemlock, hogweed is especially dangerous because it resembles Queen Anne’s lace. 

9. Honey Locust 

Honey Locust 

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One user highlights that while they are undoubtedly concerned about poisonous plants, what truly scares them are the spikes on honey locust trees. The tree’s spikes can only be described as gnarly; they are long, extremely sharp, and can easily break through the skin with a light touch. 

10. Puya Chilensis/Sheep-Eating Plant 

Puya Chilensis/Sheep-Eating Plant 

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Finally, another calls out the horrifying puya chilensis, the “sheep-eating plant.” This plant can entangle animals, including ones up to the size of a fully grown sheep, and may or may not get nutrients from the animal’s corpse after it dies near its roots. 

11 Best Indoor Plants of 2023 (Easy, Low-Maintenance Plants)

Woman with indoor houseplants.

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Looking for the perfect indoor plant that’s easy to care for and won’t take up too much of your time? Look no further! In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the 11 best indoor plants of 2023 that are low-maintenance and sure to thrive in any home environment. From air-purifying plants to those that add a pop of color, there’s something for everyone. Discover the joy and benefits of bringing nature indoors with these beautiful and hassle-free plants.

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Shampoo Ginger Lily

Shampoo Ginger Lily

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Have you ever wanted to grow your own shampoo ginger lilies? These tropical plants not only add a beautiful touch of green to any garden, but they also produce a natural shampoo that’s great for your hair! In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about planting, growing, and caring for shampoo ginger lilies. From selecting the right soil and sunlight to tips for maintaining their health and getting the best results, we’ve got you covered. Discover the joy of growing these versatile and useful plants and take your gardening skills to the next level.

How to Grow & Care for Monstera Adansonii | Swiss Cheese Plant

Woman propagating monstera adansonii.

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Looking for a striking plant that’s easy to care for and will add a touch of tropical flair to your home? Look no further than the Monstera Adansonii, also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant. In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about growing and caring for this popular houseplant. From tips on soil and watering to advice on pruning and propagation, we’ve got you covered. Discover the secrets to keeping your Monstera Adansonii healthy and thriving, and take your indoor gardening skills to the next level. Don’t miss out on the chance to add this stunning plant to your collection!

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Calathea Plant Indoors

Woman replanting a young calathea makoyana plant.

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If you’re a plant lover looking for a new addition to your indoor garden, the Calathea Plant is an excellent choice! Known for its stunning foliage and air-purifying qualities, this tropical plant is a popular choice for any home. In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about planting, growing, and caring for Calathea Plants indoors. From selecting the right pot and soil to tips for maintaining its health and beauty, we’ve got you covered. Discover the secrets to keeping your Calathea Plant thriving and add a touch of nature to your home. Don’t miss out on the chance to add this beautiful plant to your collection!

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Calathea Plant Indoors

A woman watering a pothos plant.

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Are you a plant lover looking to expand your collection? Look no further than the Pothos plant! With its easy-to-care-for nature and stunning foliage, this tropical plant is a popular choice for any indoor garden. But did you know there are over 15 different varieties of Pothos to choose from? In this article, we’ll explore the various types of Pothos plants and provide tips for growing and caring for each one. From the classic Golden Pothos to the unique Jade Pothos, there’s a variety for every style and taste. Discover the beauty and versatility of the Pothos plant and take your indoor gardening skills to the next level!


This originally appeared on Planet Natural.

This thread inspired this post. 

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Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.