Poison Plant Identification

Poison Plant Identification

Whether you are out in the great outdoors hiking or camping, or simply clearing away unwanted foliage in your backyard, you are at risk of coming into contact with various types of poisonous plants, such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Coming into contact with these plants leaves itchy red rashes on most people due to the oils that the leaves produce. While some people don’t have reactions to these oils, others can break out in rashes of varying degrees of severity depending on the individual’s allergy. These plants are unassuming, and blend in quite well with the others around them, but here are a few sure fire ways to identify these itch-causing plants.


Poison Ivy

Young poison ivy plants have tiny, reddish leaves, while the mature plant’s leaves are the typical green. Be wary, as poison ivy blends in well with other types of foliage. The best way to identify this plant is by checking if there are three leaves sprouting out from a single stem.


Poison Oak

Poison Oak plants have distinctively fuzzy, tightly clustered berries and stems. The leaves of this plant can be easily be mistaken for normal oak leaves, due to their similar shape. Like poison ivy, though, poison oak plants also sport three leaves growing from a single stem.


Poison Sumac

One of the distinctive features of poison sumac is its red stems. Like poison oak, it grows berries, but its berries grow in much looser bunches. The berries start out green as they are developing, but become white when ripe. It has long, thin branches that sports several thin leaves.


If you or a loved one comes in contact with one of these plants, it is imperative to wash the clothing that came in contact with it as soon as possible, as the urushiol oil from the plants is highly transferable. Be sure to wash your hands while dealing with these articles of clothing. The rash is transferable from a recently infected person, but there’s no cause to worry about catching it from an older infection. If you develop a rash that is too severe to treat well at home, we here at HealthCare Express will be glad to help!   


Stay safe out there,

Dr. Tim