Angel Trumpet plants come in various species and colors. The palette ranges over the color spectrum from pure white to reds and even delicate purple. The one thing all the species have in common is their glorious enormous blooms. This plant is a garden showstopper, and the huge flowers may attract the attention of children and pets. It is essential to know if Angel trumpet plants are poisonous.
Angel Trumpet plants have five species and several hybrids, and all are poisonous. They contain hyoscyamine, atropine, and scopolamine in all parts of the plant. They cause tachycardia, paralysis, hallucinations, and death. They affect people, dogs, cats, horses, livestock, and other animals.
Some plants are mildly poisonous and cause an unpleasant reaction. Others are so poisonous that they can cause severe physiological symptoms and even death. Angel Trumpet plants belong to the latter group and are part of the Deadly Nightshade or Solanaceae plant family.
What Poisons Do Angel Trumpet Plants Have?
All parts of the Angel Trumpet plant contain the tropane alkaloids; hyoscyamine, atropine, and scopolamine. The greatest concentration of the alkaloids is found in the seed pods, followed by the flowers and then the leaves.
Young Angel Trumpet plant flowers have fewer alkaloids than older ones. A study done in 2008 found that the younger flowers had 0.94 mg of total alkaloids. Older flowers had 3mg of scopolamine alone.
Tropane alkaloids are antimuscarinic and anticholinergic. Antimuscarinic and anticholinergic substances or drugs block the muscarinic receptors that bind with acetylcholine in the parasympathetic nervous system.
Tropane alkaloids affect smooth musculature and have the following symptoms:
- Dry mucous membranes
- Painful throat
- Urinary retention
- Severe constipation where it is difficult even to pass gas
- Visual problems such as blurring and light sensitivity
- Tachycardia which is heart rate over 100 beats per minute
- Anxiety and confusion
- Mood changes
What Happens If People Get Angel Trumpet Poisoning?
Angel Trumpet plant poisoning occurs easily when working with the plant. Ingestion does not have to happen for the gardener to experience side effects.
The gardener may wipe their eye after handling the plant, or sap may squirt into the eye. The alkaloids are absorbed through the occular mucous membrane, and visual side effects occur. If a gardener has residue from the Angel Trumpet plant on his hands and eats food, accidental contamination and poisoning can occur.
Children are often intrigued by the beautiful trumpet-shaped flower. They pick the flower and either put their hands in their mouths or, even worse, eat the flower.
Angel Trumpet plants must be planted a reasonable distance away from edible herbs, vegetables, and fruit as cross-contamination can occur. Someone eating the contaminated garden produce would become very ill and uncertain of the cause.
Sometimes poisoning from Angel Trumpet flowers occurs from deliberate ingestion. People want to experience the intoxicating and hallucinogenic effects of the plant. They usually eat a part of the plant or make tea from the flowers or leaves.
This practice is inadvisable as the age of the leaf or flower can significantly affect the amount of alkaloid. It is almost impossible to accurately choose a safe amount to ingest. In addition, all the tropane alkaloids are present in the plant, creating a problematic situation for overdose treatment.
What Are The Symptoms Of Angel Trumpet Poisoning In People?
People that accidentally or deliberately eat or have contact with Angel Trumpet plants will have the following symptoms:
- Dry eyes
- Throat pain and difficulty swallowing
- Dilated pupils
- Unclear or blurry vision
- Difficulty passing urine
- Feel as though their muscles are weak
- Rapid heart rate and associated anxiety.
- Confusion and memory loss is common.
- People may become depressed and have hallucinations which are typically unpleasant and scary.
- Respiratory failure is a primary cause of death in cases of severe poisoning.
It is critcal to seek help urgently if Angel Trumpet plant poisoning is suspected. The doctor and emergency staff must be informed that the plant is the potential cause of the symptoms.
When working with Angel Trumpet plants, the gardener should always wear gloves and goggles. The hands, arms, and face should be carefully washed after planting or tending Angel Trumpet plants.
Are Angel Trumpet Plants Poisonous To Dogs And Cats?
The hanging bell-like flowers of Angel Trumpet plants are a temptation to playful cats and dogs that want to bat it. They may eventually pull the flower down and even chew it.
Dogs and cats will show the following symptoms:
- Dilated pupils
- Fever or hyperthermia resulting in panting
- Disorientation and confusion
- Increased heart rate
- Either increased or decreased breathing rate
- Urinary retention
- Reluctance to eat
- Difficulty standing and walking (ataxia)
- Muscle paralysis
The cat or dog should be immediately taken to the nearest veterinary facility to obtain help. Tell the veterinarian about the possibility of Angel Trumpet plant poisoning.
Are Angel Trumpet Plants Poisonous For Horses?
Horses do not usually choose to eat Angel Trumpet plant. Unfortunately, due to the ability of this plant to contaminate plants in its vicinity, it is possible that the horse’s grazing may be compromised.
Sometimes dried parts of the plants may end up in the hay fed to the horse in its stable. And the result is a dangerous situation where the horse has Angel Trumpet poisoning.
The most apparent initial symptom in a horse with Angel Trumpet poisoning will be disorientation, where the horse staggers around and acts strangely.
The tropane alkaloids have a devastating effect on the horse’s gastrointestinal tract resulting in complete stasis. This results in severe impaction colic, which can quickly kill the horse. Any time a horse has colic, it is an emergency, and a veterinarian must be called without delay.
The horse may also have the following symptoms:
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid heart rate
- Respiratory difficulty leading to complete failure
Angel Trumpet plant is a beautiful plant, but the ease with which poisoning can happen makes the choice to include it in the garden one with dire consequences. It is best left out of gardens where there are small children and animals.