Avoid Toxic Plants

Avoid Toxic Plants

Claudia Tegtman, Staff Writer

Many people are often not familiarized with the types of poisonous plants that could grow in their region, which can cause a serious injury or even death after encountering a potentially toxic plant. It’s helpful to know what kind of poisonous plants are in your area, but what’s even more helpful is knowing how to get rid of them or how to treat injuries that have been caused by the ones hiding in plain sight.

Everyone is familiar with the term poison ivy, and some have even been victimized by its rather unpleasant rashes. These rashes are caused from an oil that the plant produces called urushiol, and about 85% of people are allergic to it. Reactions can be either almost unnoticeable to life threatening depending on how the body’s immune system decides to respond to the allergen that coats the entire plant. It’s good to be aware of when this plant touches clothing or tools, because even touching the object can trigger a reaction; oil from the plant can stay on these objects for almost seven years. The rashes cannot be transferred from person to person, and doesn’t spread when itched, as the only way for the skin to rash is when in direct contact with the plant’s oil. After coming into contact with the plant, a rash can start the next day or in two weeks, but a good way to help ease the itchiness is to put rubbing alcohol on the infected area. If rubbing alcohol is not on hand, simply rinsing off the substance with lukewarm to warm water and soap is an inferior substitute. Although there are many creams out there, the rash will go away on its own after some time.

The water Hemlock is a notoriously deadly plant that thrives best in North America, and it is poisonous for its roots. They contain a sap of convulsant cicutoxin that causes seizures and a rapid death when consumed.

Another plant with the nickname “Moon Seeds” is not actually dangerous for birds and is part of many diets, but not for people. Found in Eastern North America, Moon Seeds can paralyze a person, and kill them when ingested in larger doses. Not particularly the best snack to have when going out for a picnic with some friends.

A deadly plant that hides itself in gorgeous petals was given the name Rhododendron, and can be found residing in the Pacific Northwest as well as Asia. The andromedotoxin found in any part of the plant can cause depression, severe vomiting, progressive paralysis, coma, and a painful death.

The most toxic plant believed to inhabit the earth are called Caster Oil plants. They’re common household plants for decor and for gardens around the world despite the seeds being extremely toxic. Unlike most other poisonous plants the poison doesn’t reside on the leaves or petals, but only the seeds; this could make life living with cats, dogs, or children more difficult while in possession of this plant because there is the possibility the seeds could accidentally be swallowed.

If a plant is accidentally ingested, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed. Relax, try and get most of the plant out of your mouth, and drink something (preferably water or milk). Although it sounds as if these plants were taken right out of a mystical novel, they are quite real, and many more of them exist. After eating, touching, or smoking a dangerous plant, make sure to call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.