The Mexican flame flower (Senecio confusus) is a species of flowering plant native to Mexico and Central America. They are found throughout much of the southern United States, from Texas all the way down through Florida and even into New York State. There are many varieties of these plants with different colors, shapes, sizes and forms. Some have white flowers while others have pink or red ones.

Some are very small and some grow up to 10 feet tall. All of them look pretty, but they all have one thing in common; they’re extremely toxic!

There are several ways that the plant can harm humans if ingested. One way is when it produces a toxin called Senecio confusus toxins which cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea within 24 hours after ingestion. Other symptoms include weakness, fever, chills and headache. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to death.

Another way that the plant can harm humans is when it releases toxic fumes which causes breathing problems such as coughing and wheezing. These fumes may also cause headaches, dizziness and other respiratory issues.

And finally there’s the most dangerous way that the plant can hurt us; it produces large amounts of smokey black smoke which contains high concentrations of cyanide gas. This gas displaces the oxygen within the lungs and prevents proper respiration. This causes dizziness, confusion, disorientation and even unconsciousness within a few breaths. If this is inhaled for too long it can cause death.

It’s really important not to confuse the Mexican flame flower with any other plants. While there are other plants that are toxic, many of them have similar names such as the Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa) or the Japanese breadfruit (Treculia sp.), so it’s best to avoid all wildflowers unless you’re absolutely sure what they are.

The best way to prevent complications with these plants is to leave them alone and not pick them at all. Keep children and pets away from them too! If you or someone you know does consume the plant by accident, go to the emergency room immediately and inform the doctors that they ingested a poisonous plant.

The Mexican flame flower is a very pretty plant with beautiful flowers, but it’s also extremely toxic and can be fatal if ingested. Be sure to avoid them at all costs and inform others as well!

Sources & references used in this article:

Fire, vegetation structure, and the ant x acacia interaction in Central America by DH Janzen – Ecology, 1967 – Wiley Online Library

… : In Its Moral, Social, and Political Aspect: with Suggestions Respecting Mexico, West Indies, and Vancouver’s Island, for the Information of Colored Emigrants by MA Shadd – 1852 – books.google.com

Winemaking: From grape growing to marketplace by RP Vine, EM Harkness, SJ Linton – 2012 – books.google.com

Trees, shrubs, and vines of the Texas Hill Country: a field guide by J Wrede – 2010 – books.google.com

A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Wildflowers: Northern Arizona and New Mexico to British Columbia by JJ Craighead, FC Craighead, RJ Davis – 1998 – books.google.com

Native trees, shrubs, & vines: a guide to using, growing, and propagating North American woody plants by W Cullina – 2002 – books.google.com

Low-maintenance landscape plants for South Florida by J Haynes, J McLaughlin, L Vasquez… – … Service, University of …, 2001 – academia.edu

Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950 by VL Ruiz, V Ruíz – 1987 – books.google.com

North from Mexico: The Spanish-Speaking People of the United States: The Spanish-Speaking People of the United States by JH Smith – 1919 – Macmillan

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