How To Recognize Poisonous Plants

October 15, 2018

Signs of Poisonous Plants

Though not all poisonous plants have the same distinguishing features, there are some commonalities to look out for. If a plant has any of these features, be wary:

  • Leaves in Threes
  • Yellow and White Berries
  • Milky Sap
  • Glossy Green or Dull Leaves

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy can be tricky to identify, though it is very well known, it can also grow in many different shapes, forms, and climates. It is grown as a ground cover, a low shrub, or sometimes as a vine that grows up and around trees. The poison ivy leaves start solid green and in clusters with three per stem. They can be dull or glossy in their shade. In the summer, poison ivy sprouts yellow flowers that grow into white berries. The leaves will also change colors with the fall. According to CDC, poison ivy grows across the US, except for California, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Poison Oak

Identifying poison oak is similar to identifying poison ivy. The leaves have a similar look to oaks leaves and poison ivy and also usually grow in clusters of three—though they can also come in groups of five, seven, or nine as well. Poison oaks grow as shrubs in the southeast and along the west coast. Aside from the shade and number of leaves, poison oak also often grows yellow and white berries in clusters.

Poison Sumac

Poison Sumac usually grows in swampy and humid environments. It can be found in many areas in the southeast—including in clusters along the Mississippi River. The leaves are distinguished by black or dark brown spots filled with urushiol. Unlike poison oak and ivy, poison sumac leaves do not grow in groups of three—but there are typically at least seven and even up to thirteen leaflets on a stem. Like most leaves, it also changes colors in the autumn. Poison sumac usually grows into a woody shrub with white and yellow berries.

Uprooting a Poisonous Plant

Once you identify a poisonous plant, it’s important to pull it up—but be careful! With protective clothing, eyewear, and gloves, carefully remove all traces of the poisonous plant before it has a chance to spread. Beware of the places where you have removed a poisonous plant; it can easily sprout up again—keep an eye on it.

What to Do If You Touch a Poisonous Plant

If you are exposed to a poisonous plant, any contact could potentially be dangerous. Be cautious not to touch or ingest anything that could potentially be poisonous.

However, if you have been infected, there are different variations of reactions. Rinse the location of the reaction with water and disinfectant. Be wary of transferring the disinfectant to anywhere else in your body. If your physical reaction persists despite treatment or causes more than just a mild reaction to your skin, such as a change in breathing or heart rate, seek medical attention immediately.

 Article was written by My All Green