Name: European Mistletoe (Viscum album)
Found in: European mistletoe is a parasitic plant that can be found growing on trees and shrubs throughout Europe and western and southern Asia.
This toxin found in the berries of the plant acts similarly to ricin. Symptoms include stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, delirium and slow pulse. Death occurs within a few hours of ingestion.
Poison Plus: European mistletoe has traditionally been used to decorate around the Christmas season. Another species of mistletoe, the American mistletoe, Phoradendron serotinum, grows throughout the United States and Canada. It is known to elevate blood pressure but it is much less toxic than its European counterpart. Native Americans chewed the leaves to relieve toothache; and more recently it has been used as a stimulant in cardiac treatment.
Learn more in the Power of Poison.