Orange County is home to a long list of common house and garden plants that are toxic. Contact with these plants may cause anything from a simple rash to a more serious problem. For example, some may cause breathing difficulties if they are chewed or swallowed. Today, Clipboard begins a series spotlighting these plants. Each Friday we will profile a different one, including a sketch and information on why, particularly if you have small children or pets, you may want to have a second look at your yard, garden, and house plants.
CASTOR BEAN (Ricinus communis): The seed of the castor bean can be highly poisonous if eaten. It can cause burning of the mouth, throat and stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, dulled vision, convulsions, respiratory distress, paralysis and even death. One to three seeds may be fatal to children.
NIGHTSHADE (Solanum nigrum): The name nightshade is given to species in the genus Solanum and to certain other plants. The species usually called nightshade in this area is Solanum nigrum, also known as black nightshade. The black berries of this plant are poisonous, and can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, trembling, paralysis, coma, and death if eaten in sufficient quantities.