Plants are considered an essential part of nature because it provides us with the oxygen we breathe, the food that we eat, and the earth will not exist without plants around us. Most people who fear plants are those who are knowledgeable of the potentially harmful plants and somehow this fear becomes a full-blown phobia termed Botanophobia.
There are certain plants that have toxic properties. For instance the Strychnine tree produces the very dangerous chemical strychnine from its seeds and has been used in ancient times to poison enemies such as in the time of Cleopatra. Poison ivy also causes a severe allergic reaction that can cause one to become seriously ill or even die from anaphylaxis. The fear that plants can kill is a powerful trigger for this phobia. Other plants may seem scary for some such as the carnivorous Venus Flytrap or the thorns of the cactus plant. One might have accidentally have fallen on cacti or have fallen on a bed of roses and getting injured with the thorns can trigger this phobia.
Persons with this phobia will avoid touching plants and will refuse to eat vegetables as well. They will exhibit signs and symptoms of anxiety when they see plants. They will prefer to stay indoors.
Treatment includes behavioral and cognitive psychotherapy. Medications may be needed to alleviate symptoms of anxiety if severe, especially since we find plants everywhere and they can’t be avoided.