Knowledge about plants that can cure or kill has been prized, and feared, for centuries.
Flip through an enchanted botanical book and learn the history and mythology of many poisonous plant species.
What is this sorcery? That book is some straight Harry Potter business. You should really go flip through it, though. Well done.
I wonder … what does it take for a plant to be poisonous? As Paracelsus said:
All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous.
That a plant is medicinal, poisonous, or just plain delicious/nutritious is up to the mouth that mascerates it, so to speak.
I think we discussed this a while back, but it seems like nature has a general rule about bitter things being a universal sign of “No, no, you don’t want this." I haven’t studied it deeply enough to make a blanket statement, but consider the following:
Whether it’s the bitter compounds of coffee beans (which also contain the potent insect neurotoxin/human stimulant we call “caffeine”), or any number of bitter leafy greens (whose compounds are meant to discourage feeding bugs), where we find plants producing bitter we find plants begging “Please … please no, please go do something else, I’m gross and bad for you.”
Botany fans, what interesting cases do you know of where we consume a plant for food or medicine, while other creatures would treat it like a box of rat poison?