They are often beautiful and decorate our homes and the garden - poisonous plants, shrubs and berries. Usually harmless for animals, but often life-threatening for humans.
Poisonous plants as a source of danger in the home and garden
According to studies, poisoning accidents caused by plants and berries are in third place. This frightening fact should alarm parents and ensure that they deal with poisonous plants in a little more detail before a tragic accident occurs.
Since children are inherently curious and like to touch and put everything in their mouths, which is new to them and looks alluring, it is of unlikely importance for parents to always know where the child is and what it takes in the mouth.
Especially in freely accessible green areas such as playgrounds and parks, where children also like to stay, there are often dangers in the bushes. Here, parents should not leave their children unattended and it is best to take a closer look around the area beforehand and educate the children directly about the corresponding plants.
Basically, almost all plants in the house and garden are not suitable for consumption
Not all plants lead to severe poisoning, but even small amounts are enough to cause vomiting and diarrhea. Some plants also contain poisons, which only have unpleasant consequences for the skin when touched and which can cause slight burns, for example.
In the worst case, however, some plant poisons can lead to death, since children's bodies in particular do not yet have enough defense mechanisms to break down or excrete the poison in good time.
To avoid this, parents should avoid all possible toxic ornamental plants and shrubs in their own households for the sake of their children.
Internet research or specification books
If parents are not quite sure which of the garden plants or potted plants can really do harm in their own environment, they should get advice from the bookstore. Or do research on the Internet and use pictures and descriptions to go through your own plant stock and remove any poisonous plants that may be present.
Anyone planning their own garden should refrain from all the plants and shrubs that are on the list of poisonous plants from the beginning.
Involve children in gardening
It can also be helpful to do gardening together with the children, as long as they have reached a certain age and can understand the reasons. So parents can educate their children directly about the dangers and show them the appropriate plants. It also strengthens children's confidence and gives them a different awareness of nature and plants.
In guidebooks the typical poisonous plants and possible consequences are always described in great detail and accompanied by pictures. These books are also often available in a child-friendly edition that children can playfully understand that many of the colorful and enticing-looking fruits and flowers are reserved for wildlife.
Timely education of children can prevent many accidents from poisoning and save lives. Children should be able to discover the world without fear, but also learn that there are dangers in all unknowns.
Conclusion on what to do
If you have smaller children or are planning to have children, you should definitely consider poisonous plants, side effects and correct first aid measures beforehand in order to be able to act correctly in the worst case. If the child accidentally ingests something poisonous, treatment by a doctor is essential. The most important thing is always to have the number of the poison control center with you. In this case, it is also helpful to know which plant the child has ingested, because the parents can also take the right measures on site before an ambulance arrives.
Photos of selected poisonous plants
We would like to point out that we can only present a small selection of the poisonous plants, which are particularly dangerous for children. Please also note that you should ALWAYS consult several sources to identify a plant, as the appearance of the plants may vary. A click on a photo opens the photo gallery:
Hercules shrub / Giant hogweed
The Hercules statue is also known under the name of giant hogweed or bear claw. Giant hogweed comes from the umbelliferous plant family and originally comes from the Caucasus. The plant first appeared in Europe in 1985.
The Herkulesstaude can reach a size of up to three meters. The existing stem is darkly spotted and has fine hair that is located on the entire plant. The diameter of the stem is two to ten centimeters, depending on the overall size of the plant. The green leaves of the Risesnbärenklaus are generally one meter long. The relatively large flowers usually have a diameter of 30-50 centimeters.
A Hercules perennial can contain up to 80.000 individual flowers. The flowering period is from June to the end of July. The white flowers have a maximum diameter of 2 centimeters and grow wider apart towards the top. Because the hairy white leaves look very similar to the animal feet of bears, the plant has been named bear claw for this reason.
After the seed pods of the fruit have formed, the plant dies. If the plant does not mature, it can easily survive for several years. The seeds of the Hercules are highly germinable for years.
The Hercules shrub does not grow on acid soil. Otherwise, she is very undemanding and needs only a little sun to survive for years.
So-called furocoumarins are found on the giant hogweed, which cause corresponding skin reactions after skin contact. A short contact with the leaves can be enough to make the skin redden considerably. In worse cases, blisters can even form on the skin. These are very painful and easily ignite and can cause first and second degree burns. In addition to skin irritation and weeping blisters, fever, circulatory problems and sweating may also result. These reactions can last for weeks.
What to do after contact with the giant hogweed
When you have come in contact with the plant, you should wash the corresponding skin surfaces thoroughly with water and soap. If skin irritation has occurred, the dermatologist should be consulted immediately so that appropriate treatment can be used.
In contrast to giant hogweed, meadow hogweed is native to Europe. Giant hogweed is primarily found on banks and ditches and grows preferentially on damp, loose soil. Visually, both plants look very similar. When the plant is young, there is less risk of poisoning it.
Ambrosia on the advance
Ambrosia is a plant species and is also called ragweed. This species does not only spread in Germany but also in the whole of Europe. The flowering period is between the months of July and October, although pollen can cause allergies.
But it is not so easy to recognize the ambrosia plant. Humans are responsible for the increasing prevalence when feed stations for birds (such as tit dumplings) are set up in winter.
In the spring, the seedlings lie around on the ground, whereby the seed can still germinate even after years. The seed of the ragweed is in the bird's feed, although the proportion has decreased significantly compared to before, but such a mixture cannot be completely prevented. Even with packaging that is labeled with "no Ambrosia seeds present", residues may still be present. In addition, machines in agriculture can whirl the seeds in the air and thus spread them.
Striking features of ambrosia
The ambrosia plant is not easy to recognize and has nothing conspicuous, and there is even a kind of lookalike, which is the wild carrot and wormwood. If the leaves are green on the underside and a protruding, hairy stem can be seen, it can be ambrosia. The inflorescence of the Ambrosia plant is rather elongated, while that of Mugwort is pyramidal.
If there is a lot of uncertainty, a photo of the plant can be sent to a central registration office that many federal states have. There are existing databases where everything about the spread of the plant is collected. Here hobby gardeners in particular can get information on how to defend themselves against this very stubborn plant. In the meantime there is also a registration office from the Ministry of Agriculture, where the aim is to prevent an efficient and organized spread of this plant.
The correct handling
In order to effectively destroy the ragweed plant, it must be completely removed together with the root before the actual flowering. However, if a branched inflorescence has already spread, the flower style should be cut off first. Then the root is on and must be removed completely, since the plant is able to regenerate itself extremely quickly. Under no circumstances should you choose organic waste or compost for disposal, as this can spread. The right choice for destruction is residual waste.
High risk of allergies in ambrosia
In order to reliably remove ambrosia from the garden, it is essential to wear gloves, otherwise skin rashes can occur. If you already have allergies, it is best to avoid the plant altogether, because the health effects of pollen can be very significant. There is hardly another such strong trigger of allergies in the area of flora. Even a low concentration in the air can lead to an allergic concentration. Hay fever allergy sufferers can normally breathe freely from August, but since the ragweed plant distributes its pollen into September, allergy sufferers still have a high warning level.
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