YOU HAVE MANY CHOICES: here are a few:
The sap from Philodendron can irritate your skin and mouth, resulting in throat swelling, breathing difficulties, burning pain, and stomach upset. Ingesting the flower, leaf or stem of an Azalea could lead to abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, paralysis, coma, and even death. Hydrangea blossoms contain cyanide.
Oleander is very toxic as it contains cardiac glycosides (cardenolides) found in all parts of the plant. Just one leaf can harm a child. Munching on the bulb of a daffodil can cause convulsions, tremors, and cardiac arrhythmia. Lilly of the Valley--a favorite for bridal bouquets but ingesting these flowers which, like Oleander, contain cardiac glycosides can lead to death.
Lilies, a favorite for funeral wreaths and also Tiger Lilies and Day Lilies can all cause acute kidney failure by just eating a small amount of these plants. Dieffenbachia, also known as “elephant ear” can become deadly if ingested, causing the airways to swell shut. Even brushing against it can cause burning or itching.
Datura, also called Moonflower and Angel Trumpet has a lovely sweet honeysuckle/star jasmine scent. A member of the nightshade family, it also goes by other less flattering nomenclature such as “Hells Bells” and Jimsonweed. The beautiful white flowers of the Datura only open up at night, hence the name Moonflower.
The seeds from this plant have been ingested by indigenous people in temperate zones all over the word for centuries to induce hallucinations and visions for spiritual ceremonies--but not without consequences as many of them died. They also smoke the leaves. But that’s the main problem I have with most folk medicines and cures: you never can be for certain how much is enough. It’s all about the recommended dosage. But the real kicker is that one can never know until it is too late.
The Zuni people once used datura as an analgesic to render patients unconscious while broken bones were set. Because of this use, I’ve considered planting Datura in the Medicine Wheel at the Garland Community Garden. No doubt many of the ancient medicine wheels all over the Southwest had Datura. But I’ve decided against it once again this year--even though I have 36 seedlings and I have planted six in my yard at home. I love them for the flower and wonderful scent.
Central Texas Gardener had this to say about Datura:
“The most common way to get this plant is by having a friend share some seed with you. Once the flower has been pollinated, a very large, spiky seed head forms, containing hundreds of seeds. If you don’t collect those seed heads before they burst, you’ll find lots of Datura seedlings coming up all over the place next year, although the plant really isn’t invasive and the seedlings shouldn’t escape too far.
Most likely it will reestablish from seed, so be sure to collect and save some so that you can plant them where you want them next year, and give some to jealous friends.
Datura only gets about 2 feet tall, but may spread very wide, up to 10 feet, especially if it’s getting plenty of water. It doesn’t need much water at all and prefers well-drained, coarse soil, but if given a little supplemental irrigation, it will get a bit larger and flower more prolifically.
Datura needs full sun to grow and produce those gorgeous white blooms, which usually start to show in late May or early June and cover the plant all summer long. Be very careful when handling this plant. All parts of it are poisonous if ingested. Some people are allergic and have a reaction when touching its fuzzy gray-green foliage.
Datura is a great plant for xeriscaped areas in your garden, and requires very little care or attention to be beautiful all summer long, even in the extreme heat.”