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Woman finds 'world's deadliest shrub' in public flowerbed

Woman finds 'world's deadliest shrub' in public flowerbed

The plant is 6,000 times more poisonous than cyanide.

A plant that contains a substance 6,000 times more poisonous than cyanide was found in a council flowerbed in Conwy, North Wales.

The flower, known as Ricinnus Communis, is so dangerous that it has earned a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most poisonous flower.

A woman had been walking by the flower bed when she spotted the deadly shrub and alerted the local council immediately.

"It was quite exotic looking, and so she asked the gardeners what it was," the woman's husband explained to North Wales Live.

"They told her it was something called ricinnus and she checked on a plant identification app on her phone. She sent the name to me - Ricinnus Communis," he added.

"I didn’t like the sound of ricinnus and so I googled to see if it was anything to do with ricin, which I knew was a poison. It’s a nice-looking plant but I’m not sure it’s the most sensible choice for a public park."

Now, the couple are calling for the plant to be removed, or for warning signs to be installed, over fears that it could be toxic for children and dogs.

The plant can be highly toxic.
Botanicum/Alamy Stock Photo

When handling the shrub, also known as a castor oil plant, gardeners know that it's essential to wear gloves to avoid skin poisoning. But those who aren't familiar with the plant could be exposing themselves to deadly conditions.

While all parts of the plant are dangerous, the deadliest parts are the seeds and seed heads, which can be fatal if ingested.

Castor oil was once a key ingredient in medicine, but is now more commonly used in beauty products, since it contains essential fatty acids that can be great for the skin.

However, ingesting castor oil, just like the plant's seeds, can lead to serious health complications.

Poisonings linked to the castor oil plant are highest in countries where seeds are being harvested for medical products - however victims typically recover after being treated in hospital.

The toxic plant was among the flower beds in Queens Gardens park, Colwyn Bay.
PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Commenting on the toxic plant's appearance in North Wales, a spokesperson for Conwy Council confirmed that it was no mistake, and usual precautions would be taken.

"We have used Castor Oil (Ricinnus communis) plants in our bedding displays for many years and they are commonly used in bedding displays throughout the UK," the statement read.

"As with many decorative plants, the seeds and seed heads are toxic if ingested, and we look to remove the plants before the seed heads set.”

Featured Image Credit: Botanicum/Alamy Stock Photo/Colwyn Bay Heritage

Topics: UK News, Guinness World Record