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Poisonous plants in Australia

A brief bibliography

Last updated 9/2/2004 by Librarian, ANBG Library

Covers toxic, hazardous, and allergenic plants.

Adler, M 2001, ‘The facts on hazardous plants’, The Nursery Papers, issue 2001/14, in Australian Horticulture, vol. 99, no. 12. 4 pp.
Report on a study for the Australian nursery industry on plants causing health problems.
Also available via the Internet at

Aplin, TEH 1976, Poisonous garden plants and other plants harmful to man in Australia, Bulletin 3964, Department of Agriculture, Perth, WA. 58 pp.

Australian Plant Study Group 1990, ‘Poisonous or irritating plants’ in Grow what where : over 2,750 Australian native plants for every situation, special use and problem area, Viking O’Neil, South Yarra, Vic., pp. 359-361.
List of 113 Australian native plant species.

Cameron, PM 1994, ‘Toxicology of Australian native plants’, Australian Biologist, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 120-128.
History and review of Australian plant toxins.

Covacevich, J, Davie, P & Pearn, J (eds.) 1987, Toxic plants and animals : a guide for Australia, Queensland Museum, South Brisbane. 504 pp. ISBN 0724223819.
Includes 7 chapters on plants covering: toxic garden plants in Queensland, fungi, oleanders, mother-of-millions, aborigines and toxic rainforest plants, and explorers and poisonous plants.

Dowling, RM & McKenzie, RA 1993, Poisonous plants : a field guide, Information Series Q192035, Dept of Primary Industries, Brisbane. 164 pp. ISBN 0724239820.
Describes and illustrates the major poisonous plants affecting livestock in Queensland. Also provides information on the toxins, effects on animals and management.

Everist, SL 1981, Poisonous plants of Australia, Rev edn, Angus & Robertson, Sydney. 966 pp. ISBN 0207142289.
Detailed work on native, naturalised and some garden plants known to be capable of poisoning livestock or man. Targetted to graziers and farmers.

Francis, DF & Southcott, RV 1968, Plants harmful to man in Australia, Botanic Garden of Adelaide, Adelaide. 53 pp.

Jackes, BR 1992, Poisonous plants in northern Australian gardens, including plants with irritant properties, New edn, James Cook University of North Queensland, Townsville, Qld. 46 pp. ISBN 0864433875.
Poisonous plants are common in tropical gardens.

Lazarides, M & Hince, B (eds) 1993, CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia, CSIRO Publications, East Melbourne. 330 pp. ISBN 0643052402.
Alphabetical listing of plant names, their uses and distribution. The category "Poison plants" is for plants toxic to humans or stock and plants that cause physical injury.

McBarron, EJ 1983, Poisonous plants : handbook for farmers and graziers, Inkata Press, Melbourne. 150 pp. ISBN 0909605297.
An identification guide to 151 plant species capable of poisoning animals. Also includes information on poisons involved, symptoms, prevention and treatment.

McKenzie, RA 1994, ‘Bill Tulloch Memorial Lecture 1993, "Australian native poisonous plants"’, Society for Growing Australian Plants (Queensland Region) Bulletin, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 17-23.
Also available on the Internet at

McKenzie, RA 2003, ‘Cyanide, strychnine bush and other poisonous hazards in the Queensland flora ; have we progressed since C.T. White ?’, Queensland Naturalist, vol. 41, nos. 1-3, pp. 6-30.
History of research and documentation of plant poisoning of livestock and domestic animals,especially in Queensland.

Parsons, WT & Cuthbertson, EG 2001. Noxious weeds of Australia, 2nd edn, CSIRO, Melbourne. 698 pp. ISBN 0643065148.
Comprehensive reference covering over 200 species.

Ragg, M 1996, The low allergy garden : gardens you can enjoy without sneezing, wheezing, itching, watery eyes or runny noses, Hodder & Stoughton, Rydalmere, NSW. 164 pp. ISBN 0733602657.
The role of plants causing allergies, the pollen season, lists of plants to grow and plants to avoid.

Shepherd, RCH 2004, Pretty but poisonous, R.G. and F.J. Richardson, Melbourne. 202 pp. ISBN 0958743991.
A guide to poisonous, allergenic and irratant plants found in Australia. Includes colour photographs, descriptions and distribution of plants, as well as information on toxicity and symptoms.

Tate, B & Adler, M 2001, Plants that cause dermatitis : a pictorial guide, Adland Horticultural P/L, Kew, Vic. 48 pp. ISBN 1865022101.
An identification guide to plants that may cause skin reactions.

Trounce, B 2000, Poisonous plants in the garden, 3rd edn, Agfact P.7.1.1, NSW Agriculture, Orange, NSW. 12 pp. ISSN 0725-7759.
Electronic version available via the Internet at
Includes descriptions and colour photos of plants most commonly founding home gardens or growing wild in natural bushland. Symptoms of plant poisoning described.

Wilson, S 1997, Some plants are poisonous, Reed, Kew, Vic. 264 pp. ISBN 0730105059.
Detailed information on 100s of potentially dangerous plants that may be found in Australian home gardens.

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