Datura stramonium starr-environmental/Flickr

At the height of North American summer, many plants are at their most dangerous.

We don't normally think of plants as particularly scary organisms. But this rather entertaining Reddit thread from 2016 will make you reconsider that assumption.

"Botanists of reddit, what are the scariest plants in the world?" user Zipzapadam asked. And Reddit delivered.

We're not talking about common poison ivy or run-of-the-mill carnivorous plants. Some of these plants could actually kill you.

As one Redditor put it, "This post just makes me want to stay indoors and hide from plants."

You probably will, too. Here are nine terrifying plants to stay away from:

Heracleum mantegazzianum, "Giant hogweed," "Cartwheel-flower," "Giant Cow Parsnip"


Giant hogweed's sap can cause rashes, blisters, permanent scarring, and even blindness.

The plant, which can grow up to 20 feet tall, is listed as a "noxious weed" in the US because of its toxicity.

It can look pretty similar to other common plants in the US, so the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has a handy guide to identify it.

On June 18, researchers reported that giant hogweed had spread to Virginia, and warned locals to watch out for it, saying even brushing against it can severe cause burns and blisters.

Aconitum napellus, "Monkshood," "Wolfsbane"


It looks beautiful and harmless, but all parts of the Monkshood plant are poisonous.

In ancient times, people would use it on arrow tips and as bait to kill wolves, which is why it's also called Wolfsbane.

A 33-year-old gardener allegedly died after touching (or possibly eating) the plant in 2014, the BBC reported.

Monkshood can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and numbness if it's eaten.

Ricinus communis, "Castor Bean"


Castor beans are high in ricin, the effects of which can escalate quickly.

Symptoms of ingestion can include "stomach irritation, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, profuse sweating, collapse, convulsions, and death within a few days," according to Union County College biology professor Tom Ombrello.

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