The Truth About The Deadliest Flower In The World

Poisons are all around you. The fact that any number of potentially deadly concoctions are within an arm's reach of you has probably escaped your notice, considering that they're such a mundane part of your life that you don't even think of them. Your medicine cabinet, for example, likely contains any number of substances that, if taken in the wrong dose, could sicken or kill you. Similarly, your closet full of cleaning supplies almost certainly contains caustic chemicals warning you not to ingest them, or in some cases (such as chemical drain cleaners) not even let them touch your skin.

When it comes to poisonous plants, you may be inclined to think that the deadliest specimens come from exotic tropical locales that you'll never visit. You'd be wrong. As it turns out, the deadliest flower in the world is an ornamental shrub, according to HGTV, that may very well be growing in your yard — if, that is, you live in a part of the U.S. where it grows.

The oleander flower is the deadliest flower in the world

Don't let the soft, delicate pink leaves of the oleander shrub (Nerium oleander) fool you. Though they're beautiful to look at, the entire plant — flowers, leaves, stems, everything — contains a mix of deadly toxins, according to Britannica, making it the deadliest flower in the world. Indeed, even its sap can be a skin irritant to some who touch it.

You don't even have to eat or touch the flower (or any of the other parts of the plant) to risk being sickened by it. As LiveScience reports, campers have been sickened from using oleander branches to roast hot dogs, as some of Napoleon's soldiers found out the hard way in Spain, when they used oleander sticks to roast meat. It can even sicken you second hand: people have been known to get sick from eating honey made from bees that had consumed oleander nectar.

Fortunately, oleander has a disgusting, bitter taste that makes it unpalatable to humans, making accidental ingestion extremely unlikely.