Conium Maculatum (Hemlock)
A pretty plant, isn’t it?
Don’t be fooled by the little fairy-like flowers. This is Conium Maculatum, better known as Hemlock. It’s a common plant in Washington state, but extremely toxic to both animals and humans. Even the slightest contact with your skin can be disastrous.
In other words, if you’re ever hiking through Washington, make sure to wear full-body armor and have the number for Poison Control saved to your phone.
If you’re looking for a gruesome, yet exciting way to kill off one of the characters in your novel, then this is the poison for you! Ground up the leaves, mix them into food/drink, and wait about twenty minutes. He or she will begin to feel a little strange, quickly followed by a tingling in the limbs, and then gradual paralysis that eventually leads to suffocation. As an extra bonus, the person will be conscious during the whole ordeal.
Aconite (Wolfsbane or Monkswood)
Another beautiful flower!
This is ‘Aconite‘, better known as Wolfsbane or Monkshood. It’s only fatal in large doses, with death occurring between 2 to 6 hours after ingestion or physical contact.
The basic symptoms are nausea, vomiting, numbness, burning, and tingling of the mouth. With medical care and close observation, you should be okay. In more dire circumstances, the symptoms are difficulty breathing, confusion, and cardiovascular problems. An autopsy on the body will show the cause of death as being asphyxia (or suffocation).
Atropa Belladonna (Nightshade)
This is ‘Atropa Belladonna‘, better known as just Belladonna or Nightshade.
First, it’s dry mouth, confusion, inability to recognize loved ones, uncontrollable vomiting, trouble speaking, and both visual and auditory hallucinations.
Advanced symptoms (from a larger dosage, for example) are hallucinations, delirium, seizures, loss of control, coma, or death. With quick medical attention, it’s possible to recover. The lesson here: don’t eat wild berries.