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A dozen of the deadliest garden plants

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Why we grow it: With purple, pink, and white bell-shaped blossoms growing in tall, tower—ing spires, it adds drama and height to your garden.

Deadly parts: The entire plant, especially the leaves of the upper stem, which are rich in digitalin, digitoxin, and digitonin—chemicals, that while used medicinally, are deadly in high doses.

Toxic toll: The same thing that makes these lookers toxic to deer won't sit well with your—or the family pet's—digestive tract. Twenty minutes after a little nibbling, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea set in. Depending on the amount ingested, untreated poisoning leads to death by bradycardia (lowered heart rate) or ventricular fibrillation (a rapid, irregular rhythm in the lower heart chambers). Keep in mind, however, that children have died just from sucking on a part of the plant.

Photo by Flickr user Kristian Thy

A dozen of the deadliest garden plants

Your garden may be a relaxing retreat, but it's not a place to let your guard down, especially when it comes to small children and your family's pets. Some popular plants you prize for their ornamental beauty can turn into toxic killers within minutes if ingested, whether consumed out of curiosity or by mistake. With this list you'll know what flowers, shrubs and berries to warn young, inquisitive minds about and which bushes and flowers to keep out of paw's reach. You'll also learn the symptoms of poisoning because—after prevention—rapid treatment is the only defense against death. | By Danielle Blundell, This Old House Online

Also from This Old House:

 Plants to attract beautiful native birds
 Early-spring yard checklist
 Best plants for a healthy, organic garden