Thursday, 17 May 2012

Poisonous outside plants - they're ubiquitous!

Poison Ivy nestled at the base of my tree!
I walked beside the patch and
brushed my ankle through small leaves.
First contact. Not the last.
I say 'outside' because there are many house plants that are poisonous; aloe vera, amaryllis, datura plants (e.g.,Angel's Trumpet), Dieffenbachia 

ANOTHER UPDATE: Water parsnip

Whilst most of us don't play in marshes and ponds, I've come across another poisonous plant.
I should have known. Water parsnip.
They are similar to Wild parsnip, and I began getting another poisonous rash reaction.
Pretty white flowers,
poisonous plant: Water parsnip

Wild parsnip
Yellow flowers
I have come to the conclusion that any plants with hollow stems seem to be poisonous around here. In last year's drought, the

Water parsnip gained a foothold in the middle of my dry marsh and frog pond.

Wild Parsnip

 Holy smoke: another poisonous plant! It looks like Queen Anne's Lace, but it is yellow.
  1. Councillors want herbicides sprayed against wild parsnip ‎- 1 hour ago
    If two Ottawa councillors have their way, city crews will be spraying herbicides to counter the threat of wild parsnip.

Poison Ivy rash in October.
Another long story!
We all know about Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac and Poison Oak.

Leaves of three, let them be!

From Hiking Tips: The oil, urushiol, is found in all parts of these three plants: stems, leaves, berries and roots. The oil remains even when the plant is dormant or dead. 
I can attest to this.
The skin rashes don't come up for 3 - 6 weeks after initial contact. And the next contact, if you happen to get another contact (silly me!), the skin rash is worse. My mistake was forgetting the gloves I'd used to rip out plants. I used the gloves later and got the oil on me.
 You can read my full story here. City girl in the country, with city doctors and contact dermatitis!
 You can use Calamine Lotion in a mild case. The trick is in keeping away from it or washing it off immediately once you realize you've been in contact with it.

MECC sells a product that removes the oil: A skin and clothing cleanser. It didn't work for me, as I didn't realize until too late, and had the invisible oil on my gloves! Once that oil gets into your nervous system you are doomed.

In an extreme case, you'll need to see a physician, I saw 4. I was on three different Rx. skin creams, with increasing levels of efficacy. It wasn't until the superduper steroid that it killed it off.

 One of the worst: Giant Hogweed

Like poison ivy, they are hard to get rid of, are very toxic, and give terrible skins reactions. I first wrote about this in July, 2010: This specimen was found in Bala and Port Carling in Muskoka, Ontario. Near Weismuller's. You can't miss it.

The seeds are spread by birds, of course. Bless their little souls - as they are immune!
The sun causes the reaction, and much care is required. It causes phytophotodermatitis. Within 24 hours you will get large blisters and emergency care may be required. Phytophototoxicity is amplified by humidity and perspiration. The blisters peak between 1 to 3 days.

For more information on identifying or removing giant hogweed, call the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711, or visit or  

Kids use it as a hollow toy, like bamboo; it has a large and hollow stem. I heard of one employer requesting staff to remove them, but said staff member didn't know about its toxicity and ended up with terrible health issues.

White Baneberry

White Baneberry.. or Doll's Eyes. It's highly poisonous for people, cats and dogs. The birds do fine with it.

There are many outdoor plants that are similarly poisonous and I've found a new one:
Marsh Marigold 
March Marigold
I've lived in Lanark County for two years, and I am finding new ones that are poisonous if eaten raw. This pretty little plant sits in our wetland, just off The Point. Isn't it sweet?!
This plant is quite happy in our wetland. I didn't notice it last year, but it is striking in the green of the new spring growth.

Isn't it pretty?! But toxic when raw.

Marsh Marigold -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia

Caltha palustris perennial herbaceous plant of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) native to wetlands in Europe and North America.

Marsh marigolds, also known as “king cups,” are semi-aquatic plants, widely cultivated in the wetter, more acidic corners of Nova Scotian gardens.

"Buttercups and clematis: Glycoside, a severe skin irritant. Monkshood, delphinium, marsh marigold, baneberry, and larkspur: Highly toxic alkaloids." 
Rural THursday!


Anonymous said...

Always leave them be! Hope that was not your arm with the poison ivy rash.

They are so pretty!

Jenn Jilks said...

Sure was my arm, and it spread to my belly, and thighs. I had it for nearly a year, with breakouts from time to time, caregiver! Really awful.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

WE have used the Technu stuff before - it does seem to work.

Olga said...

Those rashes and reactions are so annoying. My brother gets the worst case of poison ivy I have ever seen. He blows up like a balloon and is miserable for weeks.

TexWisGirl said...

i keep tecnu on hand all the time.

EG CameraGirl said...

Poison ivy is definitely not my friend. A YEAR!? I've never had it that long. How awful.

Anonymous said...

I manage to get a poison ivy rash at least once every year! I think I know where all of the plants are on our property, so I'm not sure how I manage to come into contact with it. I was told that only soaps with detergent in them will remove the oil so I have been known to take my bottle of dish detergent into the shower with me! ~Michelle~

Betty Manousos said...

first off, i really like your blog! it's totally awesome.
great photos and info.

and thanks so much for the lovely comment. it is much appreciated!

Linda said...

I avoid poison ivy at all costs - highly allergic, usually requiring a round of prednisone and other nasty drugs! You can get the rash from the handles of gardening tools even a year later - when I had my landscaping business, we rubbed everything down with alcohol if we were anywhere near the poison!

eileeninmd said...

I try to stay away from the Poison Ivy. My son had a terrible reaction to poison ivy, his cute face swelled up so bad he was not recognizable. Take care and have a great day!

Red said...

excellent information. We have a very little poison ivy. People aren't aware of it because it's so scarce.

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh I truly understand I had a very bad reaction to Wild Parsnip a cousin of Giant Hogweed. I am terrified of my garden.
Great post since I live in Ontario Canada it is full of useful information. Thank you. B

Cloudia said...


Friendly Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

W.C.Camp said...

Well thanks for the info. That Marsh plant is actually pretty but if I ever see one I will avoid it. The Hogweed looks nasty and I don't need it - I have plenty of Poison ivy to keep me busy. W.C.C.

Nancy said...

I had no idea about the marsh marigold and clematis... yikes!

Very good information for those of us that live near woodland areas.

Thank you for sharing at Rural Thursdays this week. :)