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History of Biology Final

50 Toxic Compounds

Oleander Plant

Includes Cardiac Glycosides

Oleander Plant

Naturally Occur from the Mediterranean to Southern Asia

Oleander Plant

White Flower

Oleander Plant

Toxic Plants

Rhododendron, Texas Bluebonnet, Black Locust


Latin origin of the word toxic, which means "poision arrow"

Succession Powder

Used in the renaissance in order to have younger students ascend the throne by poisioning their older siblings.

Why do plants have poisionous chemicals?

to prevent herbivory

Alkaloids or Glycosides

Chemical Groups that make up most plant poisons

Strychnine Plant

-Attacks central nervous system
-causes muscle spasms
-can enhance sight, smell, touch, and hearing
-used to treat constipation, impotnece, barbiturate poisoning
-enhances athletic performance
-used in rat poision

Poision Chemical is Tubo Curarine

Curare Plant

Curare Plant

-Arrow poision; paralyzes victims
-blocks nerve impulses
-used as an anesthetic
-used to treat polio, cerebral palsy, tetanus

Poision Hemlock

-hollow, grooved stems with purple dots
-attacks central nervous system; paralyzes from the bottom up
-cause of death is respiratory failure
-leaves are fern-like

Poison Hemlock

Used to kill Socrates

Carrot Family

Poison Hemlock, and Water Hemlock

Water Hemlock

-Coarsely toothed leaves
-poison concentrated in the roots
-violent, convulsive death

Poison Chemical is Cicu Toxin

Water Hemlock


-has white, milky sap
-kills livestock and humans
-monarch butterfly eats it


Mimics the appearance of the poisionous monarch

Poisons Chemical is Galitoxin



-Shrub or tree in Texas Hill Country
-produces bright red beans
-used as a hallucinogen by Indians
-death was by respiratory failure

Poison Chemical is Cytosine


Bean Family


Castor Bean

-Oil used as laxitive for children
-fatal if child swallows one seed
-fatal if a child swallows three
-clumps red blood cells
-most deadly poison known

Poison Chemical is Ricin

Castor Bean

Poison Ivy, Oak

-occurs in and on the edged of wooded areas
-can grow into a woody vine
-three leaves with white berries
-causes and allergic reaction to the skin
-15 to 30% of the population is not allergic
-chemical binds to the skin quickly
-can get internally from smoke
-poison can las for several years on dead plants

Mango, Laquer, Sumac Family

Poison Ivy, Oak

Poison Chemical is Urushiol

Poison Ivy, Oak

May Apple

-All parts, except the fruit are poisionous
-used to treat different forms of cancerous tumors

Poison Chemical is Podophullotoxin

May apple

Purple Fox Glove

-Willam Withering-1785 used this to treat heart disease
-the entire plant is poisonous
-used in the James Bond movie, Casino Royale

Snapdragon Family

Purple Fox Glove

Poison Chemical is Digoxin

Purple Fox Glove


-found in moist mountain habitats
-poision is in the roots
-used on poison arrows
-grown as ornamentals in gardens
-said to repel werewolves
-used in witches magic

Buttercup Family


Poison Chemical is Pseudocintine


Deadly Nightshade

-Atropa Belladonna
-used to dialate womens pupils
-used for stomach/bladder cramps
-prevent nausea and vomiting
-helpful in nerve gas

Potato Family

Deadly Nightshade

Other Poisonous Plants

Sacred Datura, white potato, larkspur, caladium, daffodil, apple seeds

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