The world’s deadliest garden, dubbed the Poison Garden, can easily be mistaken for an immaculately maintained attraction in Alnwick in Northumberland. But on closer inspection, one would find more than 100 varieties of dangerous plants.
Dreamed up by the Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Percy, the gardens came into being in 2005 after she hired Jacques Wirtz, the famed landscape architect of France’s Tuileries, to transform the stretch laden with Christmas trees into something unconventional, according to a BBC report. . The Duchess was inspired to build a house for poisonous plants during one of her trips to the famous Medici poison garden in Italy.
The 600,000 annual visitors who come to see the gardens are only allowed access through guided tours, where they are strictly warned not to “touch, smell or taste any plants”, according to the garden’s official website. But despite the warnings, once in a while, someone ends up passing out from inhaling the poisonous fumes of these deadly plants.
The sun almost makes The Poison Garden a little less scary ☠️
Step through the doors of your guided tour to learn that all is not as it seems in a picturesque English garden. Tours are included with entry to the garden, just ask our friendly guides! 🌱 pic.twitter.com/bD5fOKJVxH
— The Alnwick Garden (@AlnwickGarden) June 25, 2022
The Poison Garden at Alnwick Garden in England is beautiful and full of plants that can kill you
— Sarah Chávez (@sarah_calavera) January 24, 2019
Besides tourists, botanical enthusiasts from all over the world make a pilgrimage to see poisonous plants like aconite, rhododendrons and wolf’s bane. The gardens are also home to castor bean, commonly known as the castor bean or castor oil plant, which according to the Guinness Book of World Records is the most poisonous plant in the world. But most plants, ironically, hold the key to major breakthroughs in curing some of the most incurable diseases.
Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. Behind these menacing-looking black iron gates of this medieval castle is a garden filled exclusively with hundreds of poisonous, intoxicating and narcotic plants where visitors are explicitly urged not to stop and smell the flowers. pic.twitter.com/oi3b5pkR6V
— Archéo – Stories (@archeohistories) May 17, 2022
Alnwick Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle, England, was established in 2005 by the Duchess of Northumberland whose affinity for apothecary gardens inspired the collection of nearly 100 deadly, hallucinogenic plants.#Faustian Friday pic.twitter.com/Qwpo0D3WmM
—Susmita (@SusmitaUkil) February 26, 2021
For example, according to the report, yew is infamous for its poison called taxine, which is capable of killing someone in 20 minutes. But many are unaware that it also produces taxol, a drug used in the treatment of breast cancer.