Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dangerous Plants of DC

Just in time for Halloween frights, my latest garden segment on WAMU's Metro Connection show is now online as
>>Rebecca Sheir joins gardening guru Kathy Jentz on a nature walk in downtown Silver Spring, MD… and discovers that when it comes to the region's plants, something wicked this way comes. From poison berries to leaves that can put you in a coma, some of the D.C. area's plants are just plain scary.<<
   Be sure to check out the photo gallery of poisonous plants taken on our walk-about including Nandina and Hydrangea (both produce cyanide!). To read more about dangerous plants, see Amy Stewart's book Wicked Plants, our October 2010 Enews issue and our current issue of Washington Gardener Magazine.


thepoisongarden said...

Yew berries are not poisonous to humans. The seeds in them are but, as long as you don't chew the seeds and release the poison, the seeds will pass through intact and cause no harm. I met someone who ate hundreds of yew berries every year and spat out the seeds.

Also, hydrangea may be very toxic but there's nothing about it to make you want to eat it.

The really interesting thing about poisonous plants is how little wickedness they actually do. The human race does a very good job of being around some potentially very bad stuff and not suffering large amounts of harm.

WashingtonGardener said...

HI PoisonG - thanks for stopping by! We taped about an hour so I'm not sure what made the final radio edit of just a few minutes, but yes, we did discsss that the yew berries themselves were fine to eat and actually very sweet, but that the seeds were the real danger.
And very true, humans are remarkable survivors in a sometimes hostile world.