Nature-Lovers Beware! Stay Away from These 6 Poisonous Plants
No, wild parsnip does not have to do with the white, carrot-like vegetable. Rather, this yellow flowered plant with thick, green stems is an invasive plant with a dangerous sap.
Coming in contact with wild parsnip's sap can cause painful blistering and burns. Anyone who touches the plant should immediately wash the affected area with soap and water, or it will lead to blistering, which happened to a 21-year-old woman in Vermont in July.
"Please be on the lookout the rest of the summer and get help immediately if you come in contact with it’s oil,” Charlotte Murphy, of Essex, Vermont, warned people on Facebook.
The most well-known of poisonous plants, poison ivy contains an itchy, rash-causing oil called urushiol. The common saying for identifying poison ivy — leaves of three, let it be — is solid advice for avoiding the plant. And a closer look (but don't get too close!) at the leaves would reveal that the middle leaf is longer than the other two.
Poison ivy rashes show up after 12 to 72 hours, and are not contageous once they're on the body, contrary to popular belief. Calamine lotion and rinses with soap and water will ease the itch. Poison ivy rashes go away on their own after a few weeks, but if it sticks around, the best course of action is to see a doctor.
And there is a lucky 15 percent of the population who aren't allergic to poison ivy — but for the other 85 percent of us, it's best to stay away.
Hogweed may look like little daisies, but the plant is actually extremely dangerous, and on the federal noxious weed list. It has long green stems dotted with red and purple with the white flowers on top, and can grow up to 14 feet in height. But the part that makes hogweed truly vicious is its sap.
Coming in contact with hogweed sap can cause can cause painful blistering, permanent scarring, severe eye and skin irritation and blindness — and just brushing up against the plant is enough do it.
Those infected should immediately wash the area with soap and water, and see a physician. It's also important to take a photo and report its location to state authorities, so the weed can be properly removed. Hogweed is primarily found in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and and Northwest regions of the U.S.
Poison oak is in the same plant family as poison ivy. In the summertime, it looks just like poison ivy with green leaves, but in the other three seasons it turns red on the edges. It can also grow up to three feet tall, and form on a vine.
Like poison ivy, it's best to stay away to avoid getting an itchy rash.
Snow-on-the-mountain, or Euphorbia marginata, is poisonous plant with white-and-green-striped leaves, embedded with tiny white flowers.
The plant's sap isn't always poisonous — it depends on the individual growth — but when it is, snow-on-the-mountain can lead to skin and eye irritation. Antihistamines and eye drops can help.
Along with poison ivy and poison oak, poison sumac causes itchy rashes becuase of urushiol oil. However, while the first two are spread across the United States, poison sumac is much more rare (hooray!). And unlike the first two, poison sumac does not grow in groups of three. It has fewer defining characteristics, but it is known for having green leaves with a red stem.