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Top 5 Facts: The deadliest plants

1 – Tobacco

Ranked by human death toll, the tobacco plants (multiple species in the genus Nicotiana) are easily the most notorious killers. These herbs cause one in ten adult deaths every year.

2 – Hemlock

Coniine, the toxin in the poison hemlock that killed Socrates, paralyses the respiratory system. The cicutoxin in water hemlock causes seizures with violent muscle contractions.

3 – Oleander

Oleander is a true heart- stopping beauty. If you chow down on this surprisingly common backyard shrub, however, it’s likely to send you into cardiac arrest.

4 – Gympie-gympie

This stinging tree species lurks in northern Australia and Indonesia. It penetrates your skin with tiny glass-like silicon hairs, covered in a deadly neurotoxin.

5 – Giant pitcher plant

These Philippines natives are trouble for insects and rodents. Lured by nectar, victims – or nutrient sources – slip into a vat of acid with ribs that block escape.