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West Sussex, United Kingdom Gb

is this plant poisonous the dragon arum

On plant Dracunculus vulgaris



Not a great deal is known about Dracunculus toxicity but it is thought to contain fatty acid methyl esters. The tuber is supposed to be mildly toxic and a skin irritant, although I've certainly never noticed that at all.

8 Jul, 2010


Guess it depends on which website you check. The one I went to said all parts were highly toxic and it was also a skin and eye irritant. Thing is Guest many of our garden plants are toxic to some degree...

8 Jul, 2010


....and all the one's that aren't are invariably edible in some way or another!

9 Jul, 2010


Actually I see that Dracunculus tubers have also been used for food, specifically as a form of arrowroot, since, like most Aroids, they contain large amounts of starch.

It was also once widely used in medicine too. Dioscorides, wrote that Dracunculus vulgaris is a: "plant abortive and cure the gangrene," whilst both the tubers and the fruits and seeds have long been in use for the treatment of rheumatism and haemorrhoids respectively.

I can see where you got that quote MG, and I wouldn't necessarily trust the authority of that site since it's riddled with other mistakes - they refer to D. vulgaris as being "semi evergreen" and a "tender perennial", for instance, which is nonsense....

Still, to return to the original Qs., I would agree with MG that it's probably best to assume that all garden plants are toxic to some extent unless stated otherwise.

9 Jul, 2010


Thanks for the tip on the site Ilex... I wonder how we originally discovered which plants were edible - trial and error with a high price to pay if you got it wrong I suspect.

9 Jul, 2010


Yep, I'm sure you're right MG!

I think the whole history of the uses that plants have been put to by us humans is fascinating. There can hardly be a single British native species that hasn't been put to some use or other at some time, be it as food, medicine, clothing, housing, fuel, dyes, and of course poison, and it's the same in most populated areas of the world. But in each case you do wonder how much trial and error was involved in making these discoveries!

9 Jul, 2010



9 Jul, 2010

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