As we are moving into autumn, more and more plants and leaves are readily available to children to pick up and play with.
The golden leaves are falling and with this, so are conkers. Horse chestnut is a deciduous tree which produces the conkers children like to play with, and even collect. Conkers themselves are mildly toxic and can cause stomach upset. Conkers should not be confused with the rather similar looking edible chestnuts!
There are many poisonous plants children may discover in the garden or out on walks, some are obvious but some unexpectedly dangerous. Children are renowned for playing with these plants during the autumn and winter. It is very important to teach all young children to not eat any flowers, berries or plants and to always wash their hands after playing outside. As children get older, they may learn to differentiate the types of plants they come across so they know which ones they should touch.
Fortunately, most poisonous plants taste extremely bitter to put you off eating them. However it is still a good idea to keep an eye on children in the later seasons and make sure they are safe and not eating anything from the garden.
Other poisonous plant to be aware of:
- Holly – evergreen bushes with spiny leaves. The red berries can cause stomach upsets
- Ivy – evergreen climbing shrubs with small flowers and black berries. All parts can cause stomach upsets and skin contact with foliage can irritate
- Apples – The seeds inside are toxic; contains cyanide
- Rhubarb – The leaves are highly toxic whereas the stems are completely edible
- Rhododendron – The whole plant is toxic and can cause stomach upsets and even difficulty breathing and comas if ingested.