Posted on

Island poison seeds

Beautiful but Poisonous Plants in Tenerife in the Canary Islands

A great part of the beauty of Tenerife in the Canary Islands is created by the amazing wealth of exotic plant species that grow on the island. There are, however, many common ones that are definitely the “femme fatales” of the vegetable kingdom. In other words, they are very beautiful to look at but can be deadly if eaten.

Surprisingly many very toxic plants are grown in flower borders and in gardens and parks. This is in sharp contrast to the UK where much-publicised campaigns have been held via the media about dangerous plants such as the Laburnum tree, in which warnings were issued that a few seeds could kill a child.

On Tenerife, the authorities do not seem to worry about such matters, and with good reason because no one seems to come to any harm. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to know what plants are potentially dangerous.

Angel’s Trumpet. Photo by Steve Andrews

Brugmansia sanguinea. Photo by Steve Andrews

Angel’s Trumpet

Planted in shrub orders and in gardens and parks around the island are the Angel’s Trumpets or Brugmansia species. They grow as small trees and have very large funnel-shaped flowers, which in some types give out a strong perfume at night. Brugmansia x versicolor has salmon-pink to peach-colored flowers, and B x candida has white blossoms.

The species B. sanguinea has red and yellow flowers, and coming from the Andes, does better in cooler parts of the island. It is grown in parts of the north of Tenerife and in the gardens of towns and villages in the mountains.

All of the Angel’s Trumpet species contain several poisonous alkaloids which are hallucinogenic and have been used by shamans in Central and South America where the plants originate. It is a very risky business though consuming these plants because they can easily kill if you take too much.

Castor Oil plant. Photo by Steve Andrews

Castor Oil Plant

The Castor Oil Plant (Ricinus communis) has attractive large palmate leaves in green, bronze or reddish colouring and strange-looking flowering spikes. Although it is not a native to the Canary Islands and is grown as an ornamental plant it has spread as an invasive weed of waste ground and roadsides and just about anywhere its seeds end up.

See also  Best marijuana seed shops

It is grown commercially for its oil, but the poison ricine contained in its seeds is regarded as one of the most dangerous toxins produced by plants. One of these beans can kill if eaten.

The Castor Oil Plant is a member of the spurge family or Euphorbiaceae, although it doesn’t look much like others in this group. The other Euphorbias are mainly poisonous plants too, and most have a milky white latex.

Poinsettia. Photo by Steve Andrews


The attractive Poinsettia (E.pulcherrima) with its bright red bracts around the tiny flowers grows well on Tenerife and blooms in winter. It gets used a lot at Christmas time where it brightens up many flower borders as well as growing as large bushes along roadsides and in gardens. The Poinsettia is one of the many plants in this large family that are not native to the island but are grown for their ornamental value.

Oleander. Photo by Steve Andrews

Read More From Owlcation

Biography of Della Street, Perry Mason’s More Than Secretary

Professor Beringer’s Lying Stones

9 Moon Gods and Goddesses From World Mythology


One of the most commonly seen flowering plants that are very poisonous is the Oleander (Nerium oleander). With its showy bright pink or white flowers that grow in clusters, the Oleander forms large bushes in many borders along roads and in parks and gardens. It is a very popular flowering shrub to grow but is also very poisonous.

Datura metel flower. Photo by Steve Andrews


The Brugmansias are very closely related to the Datura or Thorn-apple species, of which D. metel and D. stramonium are often seen growing as weeds along roadsides, on waste ground and newly turned soil. Like the Angel’s Trumpets, they are very poisonous.

Wikipedia tells us: “Datura metel may be toxic if ingested in any quantity, symptomatically expressed as flushed skin, headaches, hallucinations, and possibly convulsions or even a coma. The principal toxic elements are tropane alkaloids. Accidentally (or intentionally) ingesting even a single leaf could lead to severe side effects.”

See also  Legal to order marijuana seed

Henbane. Photo by Steve Andrews


One more very toxic plant that grows as a weed is the Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger). Henbane is often found along sea fronts on waste ground and in flower borders and anywhere its seeds may have fallen. It has attractive pale yellow flowers marked with purple veining that produce hundreds of seeds that are housed in curious-shaped seed pods that form along the stems after flowering.

Hemlock. Photo by Steve Andrews


Another wild plant that is very poisonous is the Hemlock (Conium maculatum). It bears umbels of whitish flowers and has attractive feathery leaves. It is easy to mistake for other plants in the Parsley family (Apiaceae ) but fortunately, it has a warning sign because the stems are marked with dark purplish flecks and spots. Hemlock grows in waste places and can form large clumps.

Other Poisonous Plants in Tenerife


There are several endemic species such as the Cardón (Euphorbia canariensis) that many people think is a cactus because of its thick columnar leafless stems that have spìnes along their edges and which grow in clumps on the semi-desert areas and on mountains and cliffs.

The “Tabaibas” (Spanish for spurge) such as E. broussonetii and E.atropurpurea are succulent shrubs that are commonly seen growing in large patches. Like the Cardón they have a white millky juice if cut or broken and this is toxic and burns the skin.


The Carissa (Carissa spectabilis) is a small tree or very large evergreen bush. It has bunches of small white strongly-perfumed flowers that are followed by black fruit like small plums. Don’t eat them though because they are poisonous. The Carissa is often planted in shrub orders and in gardens and parks around Tenerife.

Tree Tobacco

Another poisonous plant that grows as an invasive weed on Tenerife is the Tree Tobacco (Nicotinia glauca). Also known as the Mustard Tree and as “Bobo” in Spanish it grows into a small tree with large greyish green leaves and bunches of small yellow tubular flowers.

Tree Tobacco has spread around many sub-tropical and tropical parts of the world and easily establishes itself along roads and on waste ground and abandoned farmland.

See also  Where to buy marijuana seeds in washington state

Although related to the Tobacco Plant it contains very little nicotine and is of no use to smokers, although, interestingly, it has been used in trials to wean people off the habit. Tree Tobacco contains a poisonous insecticide known as anabasine.

© 2010 Steve Andrews


Pops on April 19, 2019:

Steve Andrews (author) from Tenerife on June 04, 2010:

Thank you for appreciating it, D.A.L!

Dave from Lancashire north west England on June 02, 2010:

Thank you for sharing this informative hub, here in England we are familiar with hemlock and henbane. The plants you have so admirably written about are beautiful to look at. really enjoyed this read. thank you for sharing.

Big Island Poison

Here you can find all info about Big Island Poison from Pua Mana Pakalolo. If you are searching for information about Big Island Poison from Pua Mana Pakalolo, check out our Basic Infos or Lineage / Genealogy for this cannabis variety here at this page and follow the links to get even more information. If you have any personal experiences with growing or consuming this cannabis variety, please use the upload links to add them to the database!

Basic / Breeders Info

Big Island Poison is a sativa variety from Pua Mana and can be cultivated indoors (where the plants will need a flowering time of ±70 days ), outdoors and in the greenhouse. Pua Manas Big Island Poison is a THC dominant variety and is/was also available as feminized seeds.

Pua Manas Big Island Poison Description

Big Island Poison
(Kona Gold x Durban Poison)

Big Island Poison is the perfect blend of 2 famous landrace sativa strains 1 from Africa and 1 from Hawai’i:

Durban Poison and Kona Gold.

A sativa lovers dream come true blessed with hybrid vigor, Big Island Poison is just what the doctor ordered. Both Kona Gold and Durban Poison are very high in THC and THCv.

In our initial F1 seed tests we have found many plants that bring out “The Blood” a rare “Hawaiian Bloodline” phenotype made popular in the 1970’s.

Big Island Poison is so medicinal in fact, that many growers in Hawai’i have nicknamed her: “Big Island Medicine”.