Poisonous Plants

Studying poisonous plants involves learning about various plant species that are toxic to humans and animals. This study includes identifying these plants, understanding their toxic properties, how they affect the body, and learning about their habitats. The goal is to educate individuals on how to recognize these plants to avoid poisoning and how to respond in case of exposure.


  • Safety: Knowledge of poisonous plants can prevent accidental poisonings.
  • Outdoor Skills: Enhances outdoor navigation and survival skills.
  • Scientific Knowledge: Expands understanding of botany and ecology.
  • First Aid Skills: Provides knowledge on how to treat plant poisoning.

Best Age to Start

The best age to start learning about poisonous plants is around 10 years old, as children at this age can grasp the importance of safety precautions and remember detailed information.

Equipment and Materials Needed

  • Field Guide to Poisonous Plants: Approx. $15-$30
  • Magnifying Glass: Approx. $5-$20
  • Notebook and Pen: Approx. $5
  • Safety Gloves: Approx. $10-$20
  • First Aid Kit: Approx. $20-$50

Weekly/Monthly Cost: Minimal, primarily involves the cost of travel to different locations for plant identification.

Membership Fees: Not typically required unless joining a botany or outdoor club, which can vary in price.


  • Websites like the USDA PLANTS Database provide comprehensive information on plant species, including poisonous plants.
  • YouTube Channels like “Crime Pays but Botany Doesn’t” offer informative and engaging content on plant identification, including poisonous species.
  • Books like “Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities” by Amy Stewart offer detailed insights into poisonous plants and are available on Amazon.

Starting Tips

  • Begin with Local Plants: Start by learning about the most common poisonous plants in your area.
  • Safety First: Always wear gloves when handling unknown plants and never ingest any part of a plant unless you’re certain it’s safe.
  • Use Reliable Resources: Refer to reputable field guides and websites for accurate information.
  • Join Workshops: Look for local botany workshops or outdoor courses focusing on plant identification.

Practice Recommendations

To become proficient, study and practice identifying plants regularly. Aim for a few hours each week spent learning new plants and reviewing known ones. Hands-on experience in different environments will enhance learning.

Requirements/Tasks to Master Activity

To be considered a master in the study of poisonous plants, one must:

  • Identify and understand the toxicology of at least 100 different poisonous plants.
  • Know first aid treatments for various plant poisonings.
  • Educate others on poisonous plant safety and identification through workshops or presentations.

Famous Individuals

  • Elizabeth A. Dauncey – Botanist and author known for her work on poisonous plants.
  • Amy Stewart – Author of “Wicked Plants,” a popular book on the subject.

This activity combines safety, science, and outdoor exploration, offering a unique learning experience for students interested in botany and ecology.