Australia’s Most Poisonous Plants: a Roundup

Last week I mentioned a poisonous plant in my garden that could kill. Let’s take a look at that plant again…

Angels TrumpetAnd now let’s see what that plant looks like today…

trumpet gone

Make a cup of tea out of that if you can!

Yes, I’ve removed the tree, writing last week’s post actually scared me. Obviously I wouldn’t want my daughter or any of her friends to suddenly decide to picnic on the plant life in our garden, not that I think that would have been likely to have happened.

The main reason it’s gone is because we have a Labrador. There are two things everybody knows about Labradors, 1) they are inherently stupid and 2) they will eat anything.

If our puppy were ever to have eaten any part of this tree it really could have been her last supper. So our Angel’s Trumpet is no more. This week though I’m going to be looking at…

Poisonous Australian plants that are not in my garden

Blackbean: Castanospermum australe

blackbeanIt’s the seeds that are poisonous on this plant. They look like this…

blackbean seedsSo don’t eat them, unless you enjoy vomiting, diarrhoea and hospitals.


spurgeIt’s the sap that will get you with this one, so keep it away from your eyes, mouth and nose as it can cause inflammation and even blindness.

Deadly nightshade: Atropa belladonna

deadly nightshadeIt’s the berries that will get you here, they are very poisonous. Can cause hallucinations, erratic behaviour, hysteria, well, not too different from the effects caused by Angel’s Trumpet as mentioned last week.

Strychnine tree: Strychnos nux-vomica

strychnine treeVomica, there’s a clue.

This trees blossoms and bark can be poisonous but it’s the orange coloured fruit you see there that can do the worst damage. How do convulsions, paralysis and death sound?

Oleander: Nerium oleander

OleanderAnother common garden plant in Australia that is highly toxic. Just coming into contact can cause mild skin irritation and eating it can be fatal, especially for children.

Milky mangrove: Excoecaria agallocha

Milky mangroveAlso known as ‘blind-your-eye-mangrove’ so I’m not sure there’s anything else you need to know. Other than it’s the sap again, which can also cause skin irritation.

Nettle family: Urticaceae

Nettles, not so exciting, doesn’t every country have stinging nettles? So I won’t bother with a photograph here, instead I will provide you with a link to my post about (possibly) the scariest nettle tree in the world.

There you have my little roundup of poisonous Australian plants. If you add last weeks Angel’s Trumpet then we actually have ourselves a top 10 list of Australian poisonous plants.

Hmm, this post sure smells good, doesn’t it? Just don’t eat it.


I would like to thank the National Geographic without whom this post would not have been possible. In fact, I have deliberately kept the information in my post as sparse as possible because I really want you to go to their page for the full information.

Please visit:

This post also could not have been as aesthetically pleasing without the many photographers who have allowed me to reproduce their work. My thanks go to:

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{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Lev August 30, 2020, 10:40 am |

    Re: deadly nightshade, I think it might actually be the leaves to worry most about. One leaf can kill an adult as opposed to 10-20 berries.

    • BobinOz September 1, 2020, 3:26 pm |

      I didn’t know, I do now. I googled it, apparently horses, rabbits and sheep can eat the leaves without problems, but they are deadly to humans and some other animals.

      Worth knowing, thanks.

  • Carmen fradel August 20, 2018, 8:22 am |

    A watched a video the other day saying “Roundup” causes cancer. I don’t know much about it but felt I should share that.

    • BobinOz August 20, 2018, 5:20 pm |

      Yes, I did read about that myself as well. Some guy in the US was awarded something like $228 million. Not sure if that was the exact figure, but it was a lot of money. He was a groundsman I think, so worked with Roundup a lot.

      Still scary though, and thanks for sharing.

  • Suzanne Hume March 5, 2017, 1:10 pm |

    Firestick is a horrible plant. My neighbor planted it in a planter outside of my condo and my phone feel into the bush. I had a milky sap on my hand and then intense burning followed by swelling of my hand, arm and sharp pain in my spine and swelling of my joints. A few days later swelling of the back of my head- my brain! This a toxic plant.

    • BobinOz March 5, 2017, 10:40 pm |

      Sounds nasty, definitely one to avoid. Swelling of your brain? Gosh! It’s not in my list, maybe it should be 🙂

  • Jonathon August 24, 2016, 8:17 pm |

    Possums are killing my trees. Can you suggest a fast growing, hardy tree, not too big (6 meters) that possums will not eat. I live in Melbourne Victoria.



    • BobinOz August 25, 2016, 6:53 pm |

      I’m not much of a gardener I’m afraid, so I can’t really help, although I can tell you that I use yucca’s, I don’t think they are tree, more of a plant. They do grow to about 6 feet high though and so far mine have been untouched by possums since I planted them four years ago.

      • Adrienne August 30, 2016, 2:57 pm |

        hahaha….grow Angel’s trumpet near your fence line where possums travel and it will get rid of them quite well! Then grow fruit trees!

        • BobinOz August 30, 2016, 8:35 pm |

          It’s a cunning plan, even if it is a little wicked :-), but are you seriously suggesting that possums are silly enough to munch into Angel’s trumpet?

          I also think the flaw in your plan is that once you’ve got rid of those possums and replaced the Angels trumpet with fruit trees, then more possums will move in and eat all the fruit.

          After all, we have a never-ending supply of possums.

  • John Kelly July 8, 2016, 10:43 pm |

    A number of years ago I saw a Better Homes and Garden segment from the council gardener, Graham Ross, telling us that a garden of Angel’s Trumpet would just great for a suburban garden. Having sent him an email explaining that the plant was one of the 10 most poisonous plants in NSW he ,on 2GB, one Saturday morning at 8am, called me a “fool” . You can still hear my thoughts on his comments today. The blokes a dope.

    • BobinOz July 10, 2016, 8:10 pm |

      Angel’s Trumpet would not be my idea of a great suburban garden plant, so I’m with you on this one John. I think Graham Ross, whoever he is, is the fool.

  • Sandy & Mike February 4, 2016, 5:52 pm |

    Bob, our neighbour has just planted several oleanders within centimetres of a 1.34m high solid dividing fence between our two properties. The fence borders several metres of a narrow pathway between our shed and the fence. That passage is in constant use. Within a few weeks of planting the oleander has flowered and hanging over the dividing fence. We have set a temporary barricade to prevent our two standard poodle pups (8 months old) from entering this area. We know from experience they enjoy eating hibiscus flowers and that they will die if they eat any part of the oleanders. We are desperate for advice as the oleander flowers will soon spread seeds, seeds being the most poisonous part of this plant. It seems it is acceptable to plant oleanders anywhere in Western Australia. Maximum allowable fence height is 1.8m nowhere near high enough to block out these plants.
    Any suggestions would be welcome

  • Guy October 11, 2015, 10:55 am |

    Thanks for a very informative website. Cheers Guy.

  • MW May 9, 2014, 11:02 pm |

    Ahhh…”roundup”….i geddit :p

    • BobinOz May 11, 2014, 9:25 pm |

      Haha, yes, very good 🙂

      For those who don’t geddit, roundup is the name of a very popular weedkiller here in Australia.

  • Kamma May 8, 2014, 5:07 am |

    Those actually scare me more than all the venomous critters.

    • BobinOz May 8, 2014, 9:41 pm |

      Good thing about plants though is that they can’t move. Basically, if any of us get nailed by a plant, it’s our fault. They are still a bit scary though.

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