Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Hemlock Conium maculatum
Hemlock is  an annual or biennal weed found in Europe. It has an unpleasant smell and a hollow stem with red spots and small white blossoms.
All parts of this plant is very poisonous due to the “alkaloid connin”.
What is an alkaloid connin ? it is a neurotoxin which disrupts the central nervous system. It is toxic to all classes of livestock and humans; less than 0.2g is fatal to humans, with death caused by respiratory paralysis .
Two other plants from the same group which have similar poisonous effects have often mistaken for hemlock namely the the water hemlock (Cicuta maculata) and the western water hemlock (Cicuta douglasii). Their toxicity is aimed mainly at the central nervous system and is due to alkaloids such as cicutoxin and cicunol.
For human being its lethal dose is 0.15 g which may causes nausea and vomiting, movement and speech retardation, the pupils dilate and later on followed by paralysis of the limbs that may lead to death.
Castor oil plant
         Ricinus communis  
Castor oil plant has large palm-shaped leaves with 7-9 portions, cluster-like blossoms and prickly fruits, each carrying 3 seeds. All parts of these plants are poisonous, especially the beans. 
Castor beans affect all animals and humans. They contain some of the strongest toxins namely the alkaloid ricinin and the toxalbumin ricin, the latter being a plant lectin, or protein, more toxic even than strychnos and cyanides.

·        nausea
·        vomiting,
·        stomachache,
·        bloody diarrhea,
·        headache,
·        cold sweat,
·        sleepiness,
·        Disorientation
·        fever
·        shortage of breath,
·        Seizures followed by a collapse and death
Taxus baccata
Yew is an evergreen tree, up to 32 m high. Its treetop is thick and oval, its leaves are dark green and shiny above; beneath they are matte and milky green. The plant grows very slowly; therefore, it can reach an age of about 4000 years. Yew is also cultivated as a decorative plant in many countries.
All parts of the plant are poisonous which is due mostly to the alkaloid taxin.
Symptoms may  include nausea and vomiting, increased salivation, stomachache, diarrhea, sleepiness, shortage of breath, trembling, spasms, malfunction of the cardiovascular system which leads to collapse and death.

Duckbill Ornithorhynchus anatinus
The platypus is a small, semiaquatic, oviparous mammal that lives in freshwater basins along Eastern Australia and Tasmania. It has a squat shape and broad, flattened snout. It is famous for its insatiable appetite: each day this small animal eats nearly its own weight in crustaceans, mollusks, fish, frogs and earthworms. It hunts for food in underwater mud.
Their venom causes intense pain and local tissue damage in humans. The venom is composed of various enzymes that have a paralytic effect on the affected body area. Swelling develops and the victims may be unable to move their limbs for days. In experimental animals, death has occurred because of respiratory failure.

Box jellyfish
Box jellyfish is considered the most venomous marine creature. It can kill more people compare to stonefish, sharks and crocodiles.
In each corner of the box-shaped bell, often as large as a basketball, there is a bundle of ten to sixty stinging tentacles, which can extend for up to 2 m.
The body of a sea wasp can weight as much as 2 kg. The tentacles are armed with up to 5,000 nematocysts, or stinging cells. Certain chemicals on the surface of fish, shellfish and humans activate these. Contact with only 3 m of tentacles may be fatal for an adult. There are many (about 70) reported deaths that have occurred in northern Australia between November and April.
Symptoms and first aid  would be the venom of box jellyfish has cardiotoxic, neurotoxic and highly dermatonecrotic components. When injected, it is rapidly absorbed into the circulation. The pain is excruciating; the tentacles become sticky and adhere tightly to the skin. Any attempt at removal of the tentacles while they are still active may worsen the sting and lead to great injuries. Severe stings result in necrosis of the affected skin area. If treatment is not given, the pain may last for weeks and often stings leave significant scars.


Salamandra salamandra
This is an amphibian which inhabits Central and South Europe, Northwest Africa and Southwest Asia. The body is about 20cm long with a short tail and short strong limbs without a web. The skin is shiny black with bright yellow spots. It lives in wet forests, on the costs of mountain rivers and streams. It is active in dusk and night and feeds on invertebrates.
The salamander also secrets its poison through the skin like the most amphibians.
When teased, the animal secrets the defensive poisonous liquid which contains salamandrin and steroid alkaloids. Salamandrin is a strong neurotoxin so the poisoning is usually characterized by convulsions. The salamander cannot be dangerous for humans.