- lily of the valley - all of the plant
- daffodil/narcissus - stems but especially the bulbs. These are being mistaken for onions in supermarkets and now have to be labelled, ’Poison do not eat’.
- lilies - the pollen on the stamens can kill cats.Cats do not eat them but brush against the flower and ingest the pollen when grooming. Remove stamens.
- deadly nightshade
Different parts of plants can be poisonous. Rhubarb which we grow and make puddings from, is a good example of a Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Its stems are edible but the leaves are very toxic and can be used to poison rats. There are many more and I would recommend reading Poisonous Plants, by Elizabeth A Dauncey.
One of my favourite plants is Granny's Nightcap, aconitum. Other common names for this flower are Monk's Hood, Helmet Flower, Doves in the Ark, Chariot and Horses, Venus Chariot and Granny's Bonnet. These names were derived from the shape of the flower. The petals form a large helmet shaped head. Their statuesque beauty, often mistaken for delphinium, are wonderful in the late summer border. There are numerous varieties giving a range of pale to dark blue colours.
All parts of this plant are poisonous, in particular the roots which have been mistaken for turnips or horseradish. In classical times it was used as a convenient poison for removing unwanted relatives. It was considered a low class poison, the nobility preferring hemlock.
Aconitum has also been used as a poison in modern times. A notorious case was that of George Henry Lampson, who murdered his brother in law. More bed time reading if you want to know how!
Aconitum will grow in a shady area that does not get too dry. I would not recommend it in a garden frequented by children. It is a flower often used in mixed bunch bouquets and hands should be washed thoroughly after touching it. I do not think that Granny's Nightcap is a nice name for such a poisonous but beautiful plant.
Please carry on gardening. Check what is lurking in your borders and be careful.