Wake Up, But Don’t Smell The Flowers: 40 Dangerous Plants And Animals To Steer Clear Of

By Navkiran K

Many of us love to wake up and smell the fresh flowers, literally. It brings us a sense of joy and makes us feel one with the Earth. However, the last thing we want to do is stick our nose in something where it doesn’t belong, and by this, we mean poisonous plants! Coming in contact with them may lead to reactions that can be serious enough to land you in a hospital! Even more, some are so toxic that they may lead to instant fatal consequences. For example, some berries may look juicy and edible, but one bite could be the last for you! Basically, what we’re trying to say is that it’s essential to be careful and watch out for plants and even some animals that may look harmless but, in reality, are super dangerous. From venomous hornets to poisonous mushrooms, there are plenty of nature’s wonders that we should view from afar! Below are just a few of them to help you become aware the next time you are out and about!

Poison Dart Frog

The poison dart frog is said to be the most toxic animal in Central America. It has a bright-looking, thin yellow coat that contains neurotoxins, and these can cause a painful death if they come in contact with your skin, or worse, your eyes!

Image courtesy: Tha_frog_father

You should avoid this peculiar creature as the neurotoxins are so potent that you won’t be able to survive the attack. Those who come across a poison dart frog should ignore its bright colors and run for their life.

Africanized Bee 

The Africanized Bee is one of the most aggressive around. They were bred from an intermingling bee species. They’re known for their extremely violent behavior, which means you don’t want this species inside your house – or anywhere else for that matter!

Image courtesy: Onephatasian / Instagram

Unfortunately, some people think they have the attitude of a Honey Bee because of how colorful and interesting these creatures may seem at first glance. These aggressive insects have been known to attack humans when they get upset or scared, which can happen anytime.


Oleander is a beautiful, easy-to-grow plant if you’re into gardening, but it’s also extremely toxic. It belongs to the Apocynaceae family, which includes many highly dangerous plants if they’re consumed or touched by humans because of their toxins.

Image courtesy: Wanderingwanderlust / Instagram

The Oleander is so poisonous because it contains a plethora of toxins. It contains chemicals known as toxic cardiac glycosides. These may lead to death if consumed. Moreover, they may cause heart failure and epilepsy attacks in some folks.


Wolfsbane is dangerous to humans because it contains alkaloids that can cause vomiting and paralysis. In severe cases, ingesting Wolfsbane can result in serious health problems, including death. This is a common garden plant and can be lethal for us and our pets.

Image courtesy: Avant_gardens_ma / Instagram

Gardeners and those who spend a lot of time around these plants may be putting their lives at risk. Some news reports claim that one gardener died, and others became extremely sick from organ failure due to exposure to Wolfsbane. 


This Elder plant is something to watch out for, but even so, its flowers are commonly used in cooking and medicine. However, the seeds can cause serious trouble if they’re ingested – with nausea being one sign that you may feel right away.

Image courtesy: Madeleine Steinbach / Shutterstock

You may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea if you ingest the seeds and leaves in big quantities. With these annoying symptoms, it is better to stay away from elder plants as soon as you spot them in the wild.

Jimsom Weed

Jimson Weed is a viciously poisonous plant usually found in warmer climates like Central America and other places with temperate, year-round weather. Consuming this herb recreationally can produce ill-effects that range from mild to life-threatening, depending on how much you consume.

Image courtesy: Cpab45 / Instagram

This plant is also known as the Devil’s Snare, and many people abuse it recreationally as a drug that’s been said to cause hallucinogenic effects. However, we must warn you it’s too dangerous to risk, so don’t even try it! 


We all know that Hogweed is a dangerous plant, but did you also realize how tall it can grow? Fourteen feet is taller than some of the ceilings in our homes! The stems and leaves are dark green, while the flowers on top are white.

Image courtesy: Alnwickgarden / Instagram

If the fact that it’s poisonous isn’t enough to make your heart race, then remembering what happens when you touch one will! If you’ve been directly exposed to their toxic sap, you might experience painful blisters. It may even cause blindness if it gets in your eye. 

The Kissing Bug

The Kissing Bug is definitely not something you would want to kiss. It’s well-endowed with horrible diseases and has a knack for sucking human blood! Yikes indeed! But thankfully, there are ways of protecting yourself from this pestilence called “Chagas Disease.”

Image courtesy: Glass_scarab / Instagram

The pesky form of bacteria that these creatures care may enter into your body through their bite or poop. The worst thing that can happen if you come in contact with this bug is your cardiovascular system may become compromised. Those who already have health issues should be careful. 


The spurge plant is a wicked little beastie. It contains toxins in its sap, so when you touch it, those chemicals have a high chance of seeping into your skin and causing problems that range from mild to severe, depending on the individual.

Image courtesy: Sheriff_woody_pct / Instagram

While there are other plants on this list that are much more damaging, this one will cause redness on the surface of your skin. It may also make it swell and cause blistering. This is not something you’ll want to experience.


There’s one thing you should know about rhubarb – it doesn’t just make for a lovely pie, but it’s also toxic! The leaves of this plant contain oxalic acid, which can be harmful if ingested. So make sure to throw all those away when cooking and use gloves while handling them.

Image courtesy: Santiagolas / Instagram

Coming in contact with rhubarb leaves may lead to one becoming poisoned and toxicity in the body. Moreover, it may cause blisters in the mouth along with difficulty breathing. It may also cause vomiting, nausea, and coma in severe cases. 

Devil’s Club

The Devil’s Club has a deadly touch, and you can find it all over the U.S., including in places like the Pacific Northwest states, where it grows easily. Because of its noxious qualities, coming in contact with one is enough for an unfortunate reaction.  

Image courtesy: Nathan_kelley / Instagram

You may start to feel pain or shock, depending on how sensitive you are to things like this! So don’t bother trying; we suggest avoiding touching any parts if possible since even minimal contact can cause significant problems in a matter of minutes.


Whether you know it under its prettier name, Nightshade, Belladonna is a poisonous plant. It can result in everything from disorientation to hallucinations and death. Even though this plant goes by a lovely-sounding name does not mean it has any desirable effects.

Image courtesy: Poisonplantwitchery / Instagram

In specific folklore, authors use it to poison enemies to seek revenge. Even now, when you see this plant, you must run for your life and not be pulled in by the beauty of its flowers. This plant is responsible for blurred vision and fever. 

Puss Moth

Even though these bugs may look adorable, they’re anything but. The Puss Moth ( it has some resemblance to a cat), which might seem like an innocent and rare creature at first glance with those big eyes, is something you do not want to touch.

Image courtesy: Samanne92 / Instagram

And there are plenty of valid reasons for this. They secrete spikes that are designed to kill. Besides, your body may react, and it may cause more difficulty to function in a matter of minutes or hours, leading to breathing issues, headaches, and nausea.

Poison Ivy

The oil secreted by this plant is so toxic that your skin will start itching and burning if you come into contact with it. Poison ivy has been known to trigger allergic reactions, and there’s no way to incubate an attack from urushiol without developing symptoms right away.

Image courtesy: Amongoaksandowls / Instagram

It literally takes minutes to develop rashes and redness. So next time you think about touching one of these pesky green strangers, don’t do it! Otherwise, it may cause an allergic reaction and make your skin react negatively, resulting in gross, puss-filled sores.

Death Cap

The death cap is a type of fungus that can be very toxic. If you’re looking for the Paddy Straw mushroom, then this should not surprise anyone. After all, we know how careful mushroom hunters have to be when it comes to identifying them.  

Image courtesy: Gnomegirlphotography / Instagram

But if you’re just observing the wild without the intention of picking up wild mushrooms, you should definitely take notice of the mushroom. These have a yellow or green tint on their cap. Avoid consuming similar-looking mushrooms as well to be safe.

Indian Red Scorpion

The Indian Red Scorpion is one of those creatures that you either love or hate. If it has a chance to get close with you or your family members, then there’s no telling what could happen if one day they want to sting you. We don’t think it’s worth the risk!  

Image courtesy: Sanjaya_ophidian / Instagram

But even though we’re generally on good terms with most invertebrates around here (except for box Jellyfish), we’re going out on a limb by saying this particular arachnid won’t make any friends of the humankind—they’re just too dangerous if they’re approached incorrectly.


Amanita mushrooms are one of those fungi species that we should avoid with all our might. While this type of mushroom is not deadly to all living things, it can still cause problems for humans if you eat it raw or cooked.

Image courtesy: B_a_r _n_e_y_louise / Instagram

It has been known as a “deadly” toxin-producing mushroom because of amatoxins. The toxin may damage proteins within cells, leading them to function slower over time. Moreover, it may lead to the deterioration of kidney and liver tissues which can eventually lead to death.  


Daphne is dangerous to humans because it contains toxins that can cause skin irritation, inflammation, and blistering. It can also cause allergic reactions in some highly sensitive people. Contact with the plant should be avoided if possible.

Image courtesy: n.bulentozer / Instagram

It contains a toxin called mezerein and daphnin which can disrupt the central nervous system and cause heart problems. So, while it might be pretty to look at from afar, it is definitely not a good idea to touch it.

Rosary Pea

Well, if you were looking to avoid a giant heap of death from some luridly red peas, then we would suggest that maybe these aren’t the ones for your dinner party. In fact, if you didn’t notice already, their name might give it away.

Image courtesy: Gnaneswarilatha10 / Instagram

Ingesting them may result in an unfortunate situation that no one wants to experience. The poison from these peas comes via abrin extract. They are found across India and Indonesia, where their many uses include insecticide against pesky termites. 

Octopus Stinkhorn

If you squint your eyes and observe, these weird fungi may look like a strange breed of some creepy-looking plant. But if that’s not enough to convince anyone out there how it got its more common name, it may be due to its resemblance to an octopus.

Image courtesy: Quantocks_girl

Another name for it is Devil’s fingers, which tells us how dangerous it is to humans. It just takes a small touch to trigger their attack on you. Therefore, you must avoid touching them at all costs. Better yet, don’t even go near it if you spot one. 

Blue-Ringed Octopus

The Blue-Ringed Octopus looks like the poison dart frog in that it has adapted aposematic coloration. You can find these throughout the warmer regions of North America (like Hawaii), where they often take shelter among rocks or coral reefs.

Image courtesy: Ecoconsciousdiver / Instagram

Ultimately, their appearance is a defense mechanism to warn predators of just how dangerous they are! It also means that humans should never mess with them, too! You should be smart enough to stay away from these if you spot them on your next snorkeling adventure.

Bleeding Tooth

Nature is often called “red in tooth and claw.” That means it’s savage and unapologetically ruthless sometimes, even for our own good. The Bleeding Tooth fungus doesn’t let us down. It has blood in its claws, and its looks could kill.

Image courtesy: Fascinatedbyfungi / Instagram

This fungus has an appearance that resembles blood, which is more than enough to make us steer clear of it. However, it is actually not as dangerous as some of the other plants on this list. But we still advise you to stay away from it!


The Manchineel is an evergreen tree that grows along the Caribbean coastline. Living in close proximity to many bodies of water, this vanquished creature has a Spanish name meaning “little apple of death.” Its reputation should scare you away from touching it.

Image courtesy: Cruisenautic / Instagram

Even being in close proximity to this tree may prove to be fatal. Many locals put up warning signs on them that tell you not to stand under them, especially when it is pouring rain outside. All in all, you should have no desire to come close to it.

Jatropha Fruit

The fruit of the Jatropha plant is dangerous to humans because it contains a toxin called ricin. It is a poisonous compound that can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. For this reason, it’s important to take caution when eating any part of the plant.

Image courtesy: Srour_agriculture / Instagram

It may offer a few health benefits. However, it should be avoided if you don’t know what you’re doing. The seeds of this fruit are toxic because of their high level of ricin. Therefore, you should avoid them unless you want to feel a burning sensation in the throat.

Bullet Ant

You might think that the bullet ant is a gentle creature, with its pair of mandibles and ability to grasp. But don’t let this fool you. If the name isn’t enough, under those “cute” little scales, there’s enough muscle for a crocodile!

Image courtesy: Vishnuraj_km / Instagram

And when combined with their venomous stingers (which can kill in a matter of hours), these creatures become something horribly untouchable. One thing you must avoid is the Bullet Ant colonies, as getting stung multiple times may lead to deluge and a bad time in general.

White Snakeroot

This is a plant that’s so snake-like, its name is an accurate portrayal of its abilities. Found in parts of North America, the White Snakeroot kills more cattle than it doesn’t humans. The plant is awful, but many people have no idea!

Image courtesy: Mr.shanckelley / Instagram

Even the lucky cows that survive after eating White Snakeroot may produce poisonous milk, and humans may suffer from some allergies if they drink too much of this contaminated milk. Cattle should never be allowed to graze around such plants.

Japanese Giant Hornet

If you come across a Japanese Giant Hornet, it would be wise to walk away from it immediately. The bee has a scary stinger, and its venom will cause damage! And even if you don’t get stung by it, there’s still a chance for you to develop an allergic reaction. 

Image courtesy: Nicolasreusens / Instagram

This is because these hornets carry around millions upon millions of toxins. They may also inject more venom into the body in comparison to other hornets. If you see these buzzing around, it’s best to run immediately and not swat at them, which could make them angry.

The Box Jellyfish

The Box Jellyfish is among the most notorious stingers on our planet, and its tiny size makes it difficult to avoid. It’s so small that you can easily miss it, but if you happen to stumble upon this deadly creature, then you are guaranteed to suffer.

Image courtesy: F.fyme / Instagram

Getting stung will result in not only paralysis in whatever part of the body it touches – legs or arms- but also death due to heart failure! If you’re planning to spend a day in the sea, then keep your eyes peeled. These guys are known to lurk around Australia’s shores.

Porcupine Tomato

The porcupine tomato is a creature from another planet. Its defense mechanism has been around for centuries, and it still manages to avoid getting eaten by predators! Most people know about these creatures without ever having dealt with them personally.

Image courtesy: Plantswithsomeplants / Instagram

They shoot out their quills toward nearby species that they feel are threats which could be you or even your pet dog. The result is anything but pleasant or fascinating, as it’ll leave you with a burning and painful sensation on your skin.


The Rhododendron is a beautiful plant that many of us see throughout our day-to-day lives. These lovely plants are mainly found in parts of Asia. But hidden within its leaves are toxins that are known for being very poisonous indeed!

Image courtesy: Highbeechesgardens / Instagram

If you ingest these flowers, the symptoms will be severe – vomiting and a slow rate heart rate are the most common symptoms. A person may also experience overwhelming exhaustion. It’s highly advised to admire their beauty from afar. 

Angel’s Trumpet

With a unique nickname like “Angel’s Trumpet,” you might think that this plant isn’t all that bad to touch. But we can assure you that you couldn’t be any more wrong! Its interest name comes directly from its golden yellow appearance and trumpet-shaped flower. 

Image courtesy: Usushowmilk / Instagram

The Angel’s Trumpet is considered deadly because it contains an alkaloid toxin level high enough for anything from nausea to scary hallucinations. So if you see one in South America, then turn around quickly before somebody ends up getting hurt.

The Stinging Nettle

The Stinging Nettle is among the most common plants that you should never touch. It’s because when you touch it, it can spark an allergic reaction, and your skin can swell or become itchy for days on end, hence the word “stinging!”  

Image courtesy: Eatingniagara / Instagram

The whole leaf and stem are covered in stinging nettles; therefore, if you touch any part of this plant, you’ll suffer from the burning needle sensation on your skin. Even though these are common in many areas, be vigilant when you come close to one.

Tarantula Hawk

This is one of the most ingenious and fearless creatures on Earth. Why you might wonder? They will approach tarantulas like they are nothing special. And if you have ever seen a Tarantula spider, then you know this is not an easy endeavor.

Image courtesy: Arthropodian / Instagram

Even Charles Darwin considered them as a reason for extreme horror. He said these creatures prove the power and callousness of nature for humans. If you see a tarantula hawk, be super careful and avoid it at all costs.


The Gympie-Gympie is one of the most notorious plants on Earth due to its pain-causing abilities. The folklore goes something like this: people who stumble upon it will sometimes hurl themselves off cliffs rather than deal with its pain. 

Image courtesy: Rhiannon._km / Instagram

Fortunately for the non-Australians or those who do not go to rainforests feeling all adventurous, they’ll never find them around anywhere. If you do come across Gympie-Gympie, make sure you stay as far away from it as possible to avoid its wrath.


Noseburn may sound like something that directly affects the nose. When you think of plants that may be painful, the Noseburn plant is one that will not disappoint. With its otherworldly name and forbidding appearance, it’s clear why this species has earned itself such an unsavory reputation.

Image courtesy: Prairiechapelfarm / Instagram

Those who touch this plant will get stung by the tiny needles on it. The tiny little hairs covering each leaf are what cause severe pain when they come in contact with the skin. Fortunately for humans, this only lasts about four hours—but it’s still not worth it!

Brazilian Wandering Spider

Most people do not wish to touch spiders. Brazilian Wandering Spiders are some of the most dangerous in the world. They are nicknamed “Banana Spiders” because they often hide in bunches of bananas waiting to attack unsuspecting shoppers. How scary!

Image courtesy: Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

Their venom is powerful and can cause victims to go into shock and die from the pain. In fact, just one spider has the strength and ability to kill up to 12 humans. So, if you ever see a Brazilian wandering spider, it’s best to run for the hills!

Poison Oak

Avoid this plant at all costs! The toxic oil will cause you to break out in a rash, and it could even spread around your skin if exposure continues. Avoid the horror of experiencing what happens when someone comes in contact with this unforgiving species.

Image courtesy: California State University Channel Islands

While it may take your skin some time to react, there will be no stopping the horrible reaction from happening once it finally does! The result? Your entire body breaks out in a rash that may take up to a week to disappear completely.

Castor Bean

You may know about castor beans and the amazing oil they produce, which is used in various things, from industrial lubricants to proposed panaceas. One of the deadly toxins known to humans is also contained within these pods: ricin.

Image courtesy: Paperozier / Instagram

And if you ingest enough of it—well, suffice it to say that there’s no way any human could survive. They’d be dead before their bodies even knew what hit them. People can easily get poisoned if they eat these pods raw.

Tsetse Fly

You might think that this is a poem about how cute and furry the Tsetse Fly is, but don’t let its name fool you. It’s one of the most virulent toxic animals on Earth – with an especially nasty disease to match.

Image courtesy: Dr. David Grimaldi / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

The sleeping sickness can cause extreme pain as well as death. Besides, the symptoms include weakness or fatigue, which are only heightened lethargy. If you visit Africa’s equatorial lands, be extremely careful of these flies and use bug repellents.

Water Hemlock

Hemlock is an ancient plant that has been around for centuries. It’s responsible for the death of Socrates, who unfortunately had to drink from a chalice brimmed with this stuff- Hemlock exudes chemicals that inevitably lead towards death!

Image courtesy: Ravenofsummer / Instagram

All parts of the Hemlock are considered extremely harmful if ingested by anyone, including humans and animals. In fact, some people who consumed game birds that ate the seeds of these plants were reported dead. Overall, all parts of this plant are dangerous and should be avoided.