Now as a rule, we like to say plants are good for you, and they are - except when they're not.

Along with all the beautiful, useful and nourishing plants and flowers out there, there's also thousands with intoxicating (glass of rosé, anyone?) or toxic qualities, and these have been an endless source of fascination for botanists and pedestrian plant fans alike. In fact, the very first botanical gardens were set up to study the effects of these poisonous plants (and their cures - check out our article about Chelsea Physic Garden), and today there remains to be entire gardens dedicated to them! 

This Halloween, we've lined up of some of the scariest plants there are out there with the toxic, the creepy and the just plain weird.

1. Deadly Nightshade (aka Belladonna)

Apparently this one is the devil's fave, and with its shiny black (and highly toxic) fruits it's easy to see why. It's related to tomatoes and aubergines, but you'll want to steer clear of this in your parmigiana - even touching it can poison you!

2. Dracula Orchids

This one looks more like something from the deep sea episodes of Blue Planet, but it is actually a flower, promise. These ones aren't really poisonous (though you probably shouldn't eat them) but with toothy stamen they do look like they could give a nasty bite.

3. The Corpse Flower 

The titam arum (aka the Corpse Flower) is incredibly difficult to grow and even when it does, the flower only opens for a very short period once a year. It's probably a good job, because this giant flower lets off a heady aroma of rotten flesh. Delightful.

4. Wolfsbane

Also known as monkshood or aconitum, these elegant tall blue and purple stems are nice to look at and actually grow pretty commonly in the UK. You can even get them as cut flowers, but they're pretty deadly, so probably best avoided.

5. Doll's Eye

Apologies in advance for this nightmare fuel. Tens of tiny white berries with a black centre, peering at you bright red stalks *shudder*. Oh, and they're toxic too, if their phobia-inducing appearance didn't give that away.

6. Celosia

BRAAAINNS... BRAIIINSSSS! Also known as cockscomb due to it's resemblance to a rooster's wattle. But who are they trying to kid. These definitely look more like brains. 

7. Bleeding Tooth Fungus

More nightmare fodder, this time courtesy of the fungi kingdom. Little white mushrooms that leach red, blood-like sap out of their cap. It's a no from me.

8. Lily of the Valley

Oh she's sweet but deadly. As anyone who watched Breaking Bad will know, this popular ornamental plant looks lovely, with its delicate white bells, sweet scent and verdant green foliage, but can be pretty nasty if its ingested. Look but don't touch.

9. Snapdragons

Don't get me wrong, snapdragons are a firm Grace & Thorn favourite, but did you know their dried out seed heads have a shockingly eery appearance when the end of October rolls around? Spooky!

10. Rafflesia

This giant flower ticks many of the halloween boxes. Parasitic? Yep. Oversized? Yep. Kind of creepy looking? It certainly is. It is also literally just a flower - no leaves, stem or roots. Weird, right? I actually think this one would make a great halloween costume, any takers?

Right. If that's not put you slightly on edge then I don't know what will. Whilst they may not all be the prettiest, most inviting blooms about, you have to admit the plant world is pretty fascinating, if a little scary at times! Our advice? If it looks like it doesn't want to be eaten, don't eat it. 

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published