Table 1

Commonly ingested plants with significant toxic potential

PlantPoisonous partsSymptomsManagement
LaburnumAll parts Seed ingestion is the commonest presentationVomiting Pallor Dilated pupils Tachycardia DizzinessActivated charcoal if more than 5 seeds ingested2Observation
Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladona)All parts poisonous but berry ingestion is the commonest presentationDry mouth Dilated pupils Hallucinations Urinary retention Agitation Ataxia Muscle in-coordination Convulsions ComaActivated charcoal if any plant material has been ingested. Additional methods of gastric decontamination if >5 berries ingested—intestinal motility may be impaired and absorption prolonged Treatment is supportive. Physostigmine should be reserved for cases where life threatening symptoms fail to respond to adequate supportive measures Symptoms can be delayed for up to 12 hours following ingestion and hospital admission is mandatory
Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)Leaves and broken seeds of the fruit are the most poisonous partsGastrointestinal upset Salivation Flushing Convulsions Coma ArrhythmiasIf only the pulp of the berry eaten, or stones swallowed whole, no treatment is required. Activated charcoal for leaves or broken seeds Symptoms can be delayed for up to 4 hours
LupinOnly toxic in large quantities. Activated charcoal
Yew treesAll parts of the tree are toxic except the pulp of the berryNausea Vomiting Anticholinergic effects Drowsiness Bradycardia Arrhythmia ConvulsionsAsymptomatic children should be observed for 4 hours Gastric decontamination does not seem to influence outcome9Treatment is supportive Serious cases are very rare
Woody nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) “Bittersweet”All parts of the plant are toxic, unripe fruits particularly soDrowsiness Ataxia Nausea Vomiting Oropharyngeal irritationActivated charcoal if >5 ripe berries, or any unripe berry, have been consumed2•> Asymptomatic patients should be observed for 8 hours Treatment is supportive
Cuckoo Pint (Arnum maculatum)Mucosal irritation, oedema, and occasionally ulceration Local skin irritation and blisteringTreatment is symptomatic Analgesia and antihistamines Effects appear rapidly and observation of asymptomatic children is unnecessary
Elder (Sambucus nigra)All parts of the plant are mildly toxic, unripe berries particularly soNausea Vomiting Dizziness Tachycardia Convulsions10Consider gastric decontamination if >10 berries consumed Treatment is symptomatic
Mistletoe10All parts of the plant are toxic except the flesh of the berryNausea Vomiting Diarrhoea Muscle weakness Pupil dilatation Diuresis Bradycardia can occurSymptoms are unlikely if less than 3 berries are consumed Treatment is symptomatic. Atropine for bradycardia Effects can last for several days
Rhubarb11The leaves contain oxalates and are toxicSymptoms of gastric irritation predominate Oxalates chelate calcium and hypocalcaemia can complicate ingestionMilk may help to neutralise oxalic acid Treatment is otherwise supportive