Plants: Food or Poison?

first_img May apple (Podophyllum peltatum) fruit.Oleander (Nerium oleander) all parts. Poison ivy (Rhus radicans) berries. Pokeberry (Phytolacca americana) berries. Privet (Ligustrum) leaves and berries. Rhododendron, azalea (Rhododendron spp.) leaves. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) all parts, if ingested in excess. Yew (Taxus) seeds. Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculata, C. scandens) fruits. Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) berries. Burning bush (Euonymous) berries. Castor bean (Ricinus communis) seeds. Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) seeds. Daphne (Daphne mezereum) berries. Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) fruits. Plants are extremely diverse organisms. And we should respect them for their ability topoison as well as feed us.There is no set manner by which plants poison. Most must be eaten to become toxic,while others can be touched (in the case of skin reactions).The toxicity depends on the amount of plant material ingested. For example, all partsof the sunflower (Helianthus annuus) fall on the “slightly toxic” plant list.Since sunflowers are a large part of our snack food diet, this comes as a surprise. Butit’s a perfect example of toxicity as a function of ingested amount. Doesn’t ice creammake us sick if we eat too much of it?So, should we fear all plants in the landscape? Should we keep our children locked inboxes so they don’t risk their lives around plants? Certainly not!Just because a plant produces poisonous berries or leaves doesn’t automatically excludeit from use in a home landscape.In his book, Plants for Play, Robin C. Moore says the great majority of our landscapeplants are “highly beneficial and perfectly safe” for children. But many plantscontain poisonous substances and warrant precaution.Adults should learn about their landscapes and be able to distinguish those plants thatmay be hazardous. In turn, they should caution their children about those plants and plantparts that carry toxins.There is no need to make children afraid of plants. But there is a great need to changethe child’s perspective to that of respect for all plant life, so the child has less riskof exposure to dangers. The education process provides a great opportunity for parent andchild to share and grow in enjoying the environment.The age of the children playing in the yard is a major consideration when planning yourlandscape. Plants with berries at perfect heights for small children, such as thepoisonous fall berries of Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley), are much more ofconcern for toddlers or small children than 10-year-olds.Recent trends in home landscaping involve a strong wildlife interest as a major factorin plant selection. Homeowners are asking for plants that produce berries to feed birds,squirrels, chipmunks and other creatures.These berries appeal not only to wildlife, but to small children as well. Patterningafter parents picking blackberries, strawberries and other edible fruits may encourage achild to pick and eat other tempting, but poisonous, berries.The best way to protect small children from plant poisoning is to teach them to not eatany plant parts without adult supervision until they are old enough to be positive thatthe plant is safe to eat.We can’t ignore plants — the hand that feeds us, so to speak. Human and animal lifecan’t exist apart from green flora. So we must learn how to live with it. This means planteducation for all people, big and small.Here are some common landscape plants and their toxic parts (from the book, Learningfrom Poisonous Plants).last_img read more

Checkmate: Newly minted Indonesian grandmaster wins Liberec Open

first_imgNovendra Priasmoro, an Indonesian chess prodigy who has just earned the title of grandmaster, managed to secure 8.5 out of nine points at the Liberec Open’s final stage on Saturday to win the tournament.Novendra acknowledged that he had chosen the wrong move in the last game as he was forced into a draw after the spending 4.5 hours battling Franciszek Sernecki of Poland, who has 2218 Elo points and was ranked second in the tournament.“I moved the wrong pawn and thus lost control of the entire game. The opponent clearly saw this and benefited,” Novendra, whose training was facilitated by PT United Tractors, said in a press release sent to The Jakarta Post. The draw cut his rating a few points but still won him the championship.Another young Indonesia chess player, Aditya Bagus Arfan, won against Aneta Korosciel of Poland, who had 1968 Elo points. Adit ranked fifth.Novendra has become Indonesia’s eighth chess grandmaster, following Susanto Megaranto’s seizure of the title in 2004. The 21-year old secured the grandmaster title after defeating International Master Klaudia Kulon of Poland on Thursday.Topics :last_img read more