A surprising number of people ask me about whether this plant or that plant in my garden or theirs is poisonous. And so when I saw news from the New York Botanical Garden about a just-published, fully-updated edition of a reference book on the subject, I thought, “Why don’t I learn more about this?” (Meaning, why don’t we learn more about this together?) To that end, I’ve invited one of its authors, Botanist Michael Balick, to talk poisonous plants with us.
In collaboration with Rutgers University medical toxicologist, Lewis S. Nelson, MD, today’s guest, Dr. Michael J. Balick, who is vice president for botanical science and director of the Institute of Economic Botany at the New York Botanical Garden, has written the new Third Edition of the “Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants.”
I asked him about plant chemistry—why some plants have the toxins they do, and what we’ve learned from, and about, those plants.