Top 5 – The World’s Deadliest Flowers

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Top 5

The World’s Deadliest Flowers

As we know here are Arena Flowers, blooms are often given as part of emotional gestures between humans. However, some blooms have a darker side. Many may be fooled by their aesthetically pleasing exterior and enchanting fragrance, yet their innocuous charm can hide a deadly secret. Here we count down, in reverse order, some of the flowery world’s deadliest blooms (top tip: don’t eat any of the flowers on this list, ever):

5. English Broom or Cytisus Scoparius

Effect on humans: Gastrointestinal distress
Deadly? Yes
Time from ingestion until death: Slow and painful

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The above flower is more commonly known as the English Broom.  It is a perennial leguminous shrub, often found in both central and Western Europe.  Do not be fooled by its pleasant exterior or friendly name.

The toxic substance in Cytisus Scoparius contains alkaloids that both slow down the heart rate and damage the nervous system.  High doses of this unremarkable looking shrub will result in a series of unpleasant ailments. Signs that the plant’s poison has taken effect include an assortment of life-threatening reactions: nausea, vomiting, headaches, distress, confusion and stomach cramps are just a few of the day-ruining / life-ending symptoms that one might expect after an encounter with English Broom.

4. Milkweeds

Effect on humans: Hypothermia
Deadly? Certain species
Time from ingestion until death: One to three days

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This native perennial herb is more of a worry to animals than it is to humans but that doesn’t mean we recommend wolfing it down with abandon.  Behind the numerous seeds, umbels, flowers and silky hairs lies an array of dangerous toxins, including alkaloids, cardenolides and latex.

Native hunters in Africa and South America often (carefully) use Milkwood’s milky sap to poison their arrows (as if arrows aren’t deadly enough already). Signs that the toxins have taken effect include profuse salivation, malcoordination, violent fits and vigorous bloating. From this list it seems to us that if you feel extremely hungover but haven’t had a drink perhaps you have milkwood poisoning.

3. Bloodroot or Sanguinaria Canadensis

Effect on humans: Kills human cells
Deadly? Yes
Time from ingestion until death: Depends on the dosage

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This alluring flower also goes under the name of Sanguinaria Canadensis.  As this is quite a mouthful, many have adopted simpler names for the poisonous flower, such as Bloodroot (which should probably give the uninitiated some indication of the dangers that lurk within).

Being poisoned by this friendly-looking flower results in a variety of ugly and unsightly side effects. The poisoned will initially feel nauseous and will most likely then follow up on this nausea with violent emesis (AKA horrendous vomiting). Dizziness, severe exhaustion and visual disturbances are just a few of the other additional complaints victims can look forward to. Definitely not a good look for a date.

The plant contains a variety of toxic substances including morphine and sanguinarine. Both of these vicious substances have the ability to destroy cells when ingested in large quantities. Avoid!

2. Atropa Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade

Effect on humans: Hallucinations
Deadly: Yes
Time from ingestion until death: Two hours

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Most have heard of the deadly nightshade even if they have never come across it. Deadly nightshade is one of the most deadly of poisonous plants.  Consumption of  just ten berries can lead to death and the leaves are even more poisonous; eat just a single leaf and it could be game over for you.

There are many symptoms of deadly nightshade poisoning and those that eat either the leaves or the berries will more than likely experience dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, a slow or fast pulse (which must be confusing to diagnose), blurred vision and a loss of balance. And that’s just to get started.

As the poison begins to work its magic deeper into the body, the victim will begin to stagger, he or she will then experience an intense headache followed by a rash.  Other symptoms include flushing, a dry mouth, urinary retention and slurred speech.  The final stages of this toxin cause constipation and confusion.  Eventually convulsions will begin to take place and if your letter to loved ones is not written by then it may be too late; deadly nightshade induced convulsions can wreak irreversible damage on the victim and indicate the end of the road for many.

1. Aconitum

Effect on humans: Paralysis
Deadly? Yes
Time from ingestion until death: Less than 60 mins

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Topping our deadly flowers countdown is Aconitum, a beautiful flower that fools many and which is the assassin’s plant of choice. Many unwittingly (idiotically?) grow this particular shrub in their greenhouses, gardens and conservatories despite the fact that its fragile looking petals contain one of the most deadly and unpleasant poisons known to man. Growing this in your conservatory is about as sensible as raising pitbull terriers in your child’s nursery.

Absorption of this monstrous plant’s toxin does not happen exclusively via oral ingestion; the Alkaloid toxin is also readily absorbed through contact with the skin, so best not to roll about in the flowers or sniff them too closely (or at all). If you do you might soon experience a burning sensation on your tongue, shortly followed by dizziness, a severe headache and vomiting. If you’re exposed to a high enough dose, you’ll then begin to experience the likes of limb paralysis and damaged nerves, plus an anaesthetic effect on the skin, convulsions and major circulation failure. Frankly the coma and almost certain death that would then follow sound like something of a relief after the preceding catalogue of unpleasantness.

That concludes our list of deadly flowers. If you would like to know which flowers you can eat, head to our “Top Ten Edible Flowers” post (just PLEASE do NOT confuse the two lists – we take no responsibility if you do!).


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Top Ten Edible Flowers

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For many years, flowers have been considered as a romantic gift for a loved one, but did you know that some varieties are in fact edible?

In the last ten years, edible flowers have gone from the garden and into cuisine and are now used in countless restaurants worldwide.  In some eateries, edible flowers are now seen as the equivalent to parsley!

Nasturtiums and pansies are probably the most commonly used flowers and can often be found in the fresh herb section in a variety of grocery stores.

Buying edible flowers can however be a little on the expensive side and once purchased, they should ideally be consumed within the same day.  If not, they risk losing both their texture and flavour.

1. Nasturtiums

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Nasturtiums are seen as the most readily perceived edible flower and are often used as a garnish to salads.  This particular flower comes in the shape of a vivid orange or scarlet hue, which certainly works to brighten up greens.  Their unique flavour however is what makes these flowers so popular.  Once in your mouth, they inject a certain unique essence, which involves a sweet substance followed by a peppery aftertaste.

2. Pansies

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Pansies are another popular choice and come in a wide variety of colours.  Prior to being used in cuisine, the pistils and stamens must be removed.  The fragrance and taste varies throughout, and the blue flowered pansies tend to be much more delicate in flavour.  Pansies are often used to decorate an assortment of cakes; this can be anything from a simply styled occasion cake to an extravagant wedding cake.

3.  Dandelions

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Despite dandelions being perceived as weeds, these flowers are in fact edible when young.  These flowers are often cooked prior to being served, as if not they can taste a little bitter.  A famous American recipe involves dipping the entire flower in an egg white and then in cornmeal.  Once this process has been completed, the flower is then fried.  This takes the bitterness out of the flower and makes it taste a little like a mushroom.

4.  Calendulas


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Calendulas take the nickname of ‘poor man’s saffron’.  This is because the orange and yellow petals can in fact be used just like the saffron spice.  Chopping them and cooking them in oil is a great tip, especially if you wish to bring both the colour and flavour out of the flower.

5.  Squash Blossoms

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Squash blossoms offer a unique yet mild vegetable flavour, which is very similar to that of zucchini and yellow squash.  All of the variations of squash blossoms are edible; these include the likes of acorn and patty pan squash.  Such a flower is extremely popular in Mediterranean cuisine and they are often seen stuffed with both flavoursome breadcrumbs and ricotta cheese.

6.  Lemon Gem and Tangerine Gem Marigolds

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The only edible marigolds come in the shape of ‘tagetes tenuifolia’.  This particular flower allows for a sharp, citrusy, tarragon flavour.  Marigolds are a great addition to an otherwise subtle dish as they work to add a little spice to the ensemble.

7.  Borage

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Despite its vivid blue hue, borage in fact tastes very similar to cucumber.  The leaves of this particular flower are often placed in both salads and sauces.  Some even place the flowers in ice cubes, which certainly adds a little interest to a variety of drinks.

8.  Scented Geraniums


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The best thing about this flower is the diversity of flavours, which range from lemon, to nutmeg, to rose.  Their sweet scent and flavour make them the perfect addition to a variety of desserts including both sorbets and ice creams.

9. Carnations

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Once the petals have been separated from the calyx and the base, carnations offer a clove-like flavour.  The petals are often added to jellies, spices, salads and cordials.

10.  Garland Chrysanthemum

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This flower is a popular choice in Asian cuisine and the delicate leaves can be prepared in many ways.  These include steaming, frying and boiling the leaves and once prepared, they are often served instead of greens.  Many will be more familiar with the chrysanthemum petals, which can be brewed into a desirable tea.  The flavour of the petals also makes a great accompaniment to a variety of lamb dishes.

To enjoy your own home cooked flower dishes, checkout these flower recipes.

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Get a chance to WIN our Diamond Jubilee Bouquet!

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Everybody is getting ready for a very special occasion! The Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II is being celebrated in the whole country. People everywhere are getting ready for the big party preparing, decorating and organising countless parties for this very special day. Many roads will be closed to have space for street parties, union jack bunting and british delicacies to enjoy this once in a lifetime event.

Our florists are very excited and have created a beautiful bouquet especially for Her Majesty’s 60 years of reign celebration. The Diamond Jubilee Bouquet is a stunning arrangement with luxurious white lilies, white snapdragons and gladioli. This is a really extraordinary bouquet for an extraordinary occasion.

To celebrate Her Majesty’s 60 years of reign, we are giving away a Diamond Jubilee Bouquet worth £44.99! Like our page on Facebook and share the competition message with your friends to enter the prize draw and get the chance to win this luxurious bouquet. Please read our T&Cs.

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Clare Dunn for charity WISH

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Clare Dunn one of our Customer Service Representatives, is walking the Camino Santiago de Compostela, which is a 500 mile ancient pilgrimage, for the charity “WISH”. The walk starts in Saint Jean Pied de

Port in France and takes her over the Pyrenees mountains, into Spain and finishing in Santiago. She and her brother are going to try to complete the journey in approximately 6 weeks.

Established in 1987, WISH is the only national, user-led charity working with women with mental health needs in prison, hospital and the community. It provides independent advocacy, emotional support and practical guidance at all stages of a woman’s journey through the Mental Health and Criminal Justice Systems. WISH acts to increase women’s participation in the services they receive, and campaigns to get their voice heard at a policy level. It is unique in its long-term commitment to each individual, as they move through hospitals, prison and the community.

For her cause, Clare is using JustGiving. Please visit her page http://www.justgiving.com/Clare-Dunn0 to find out more about her journey and charity. You can donate through her page or by text, texting “GIFT48″ and your amount to 70070. Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer.

Arena Flowers is very proud of our staff member and wish her good luck in her journey.

Please donate for Clare’s charity WISH by visiting her page at JustGiving.com

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