Poisonous Plants on the Playground


photo credit here.

Nice.  According to this news report, a toddler in Florida was out on the playground when a teacher noticed he'd put something in his mouth. It was a rosary pea seed (Abrus precatorius), which contains the deadly toxin, abrin–a poison similar to ricin.  Fortunately, the seed has a hard shell and the boy hadn't chewed it.  So he was  OK. 

But really–these pretty little seeds, shiny and red like candy, are growing on or near a playground?  The fact is that most of us just don't think about the surprising power of the plants all around us.

You're going to be hearing a lot more of this from me over the next few months as I get ready for Wicked Plants' publication.  I've been following these news stories for a few years; now I'll share them with you, and you'll see how common these dangerous run-ins with plants really are!