Weird Nature
10.4k readers

12 Utterly Bizarre Effects That Plants And Fungi Can Induce

Updated June 14, 2019 10.4k views12 items

Some crazy side effects of plants are well documented. Most people have run afoul of a patch of poison ivy on a hike, or perhaps experimented with certain herbal substances in college. Many common drugs, both recreational and medicinal, come from flowers, crops, and fungi that are able to induce a number of odd effects in the human body. Whether it is the addictive qualities of nicotine or the mind-altering hallucinogenic visions brought on by magic mushrooms, there are plenty of examples of plants with extreme chemical properties.

While some of the bizarre effects of plants and fungi are pleasurable, there are also particularly dangerous plants that drive you crazy in less enjoyable ways. Some might cause you excessive pain from toxins, while others could hurt your internal organs if they're ingested. And flora doesn't just impact humans, either. In fact, many plants can cause unusual side effects in animals and insects as well. What certain plants do to your body is downright alarming.

Photo:
  • The Ivory Funnel Will Make You Sweat And Cry Uncontrollably

    The Ivory Funnel Will Make You Sweat And Cry Uncontrollably
    Photo: Strobilomyces / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Officially called Clitocybe dealbata, the ivory funnel or sweating mushroom is a fungus that is common throughout parts of North America and Europe. It can induce several unusual side effects, thanks to the toxin muscarine. There is a reason it's called the sweating mushroom: consuming small amounts of it can cause a person to sweat profusely. Saliva production is also increased, as is tear flow, leading to uncontrollable crying.

    If eaten in large enough doses, the mushroom can cause death from respiratory failure. However, fatal cases are rare.

  • The Angel's Trumpet Can Cause Temporary Insanity And Self-Mutilation

    The Angel's Trumpet Can Cause Temporary Insanity And Self-Mutilation
    Photo: Lazaregagnidze / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Almost every part of Brugmansia - angel's trumpet - is poisonous. In particular, its leaves and seeds contain high levels of alkaloids. Eating any part of the plant can lead to paralysis, confusion, and an increased heart rate.

    Perhaps the most alarming thing about angel's trumpet is the terrifying and violent hallucinations it can induce. These delusions are so powerful that consumers can become temporarily insane and lose all touch with reality. In some cases, the person will even mutilate their own body. One 18-year-old who had consumed tea brewed from angel's trumpet flowers cut off his own penis and tongue with gardening shears.

  • Dumbcane Can Make You Mute For Up To Two Weeks

    A common houseplant around the world, dumbcane (Dieffenbachiahas some unusual side effects if it is chewed or ingested. As well as causing irritation and inflammation, the toxic sap of the plant can have a paralyzing effect on the vocal cords and the throat. Dumbcane effectively numbs those parts of the body, preventing the consumer from talking. They may be mute for up to two weeks, until the poison loses its potency.

  • Giant Hogweed Can Burn Through The Skin

    In 2010, giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) was found in parts of Canada for the very first time. It was an alarming discovery - this dangerous weed can burn through the skin from just brief moments of contact. The plant's sap undergoes a chemical reaction when exposed to UV light - like the rays of the sun - and causes severe burns. If giant hogweed comes into contact with someone's eyes, it can cause temporary or even permanent blindness.

    The plant's effects can be far-reaching as well. Its sap is both carcinogenic and teratogenic, meaning it can cause cancer and birth defects.