Poison Plants to Avoid this Summer

Three out of four people will have a reaction to urushiol oil. This reaction could cause a severe rash that can be spread if not handled correctly. If you are unaware, urushiol oil is the compound in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac that many people have allergic reactions to when they come in contact with it.

The reaction can make a person very uncomfortable and itchy. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid all plants that have urushiol oil. These plants can grow anywhere, that being in your yard, woods, or a field. The urushiol oil comes from all parts of plant leaves and stems. But, do you know what all three of these plants look like?

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy seems to be the most common plant that people have reactions too and should be the easiest to identify. The main characteristics are poison ivy is the solid green leaves that grow in groups of three with pointed leaves. Poison ivy can grow as a vine or a shrub. The plant does change appearances during different seasons.

  • Springtime, shiny green color, and can produce yellow-green flowers.
  • Summer green.
  • Fall, leaves will start turning a yellow or red color.

Poison Oak

Similar to poison ivy, poison oak leaves grow in clusters of three. The plant is named poison oak because of the similarity of its leaves to an actual oak tree’s leaves. The color of the leaves are solid green and mostly grow in shrub form. However, poison oak can grow in a vine.

Poison Sumac

Poison sumac is usually found in a swamp or boggy areas and can cause just as much discomfort as poison ivy or poison oak. The plant can grow into a tall shrub or even a small tree. Poison sumac leaves can have dark urushoil-filled spots. The leaves of poison sumac grow in a row of leaves. There can be seven to thirteen leaves per stem.

If you are not allergic to urushiol, then touching these plants shouldn’t be a problem. However, it is still best to avoid these plants as the urushiol oil can stay on you for sometime and can spread to anyone you become in contact with. In addition, if you burn any brush, it is best to keep all three plants out of the fire. The Urushiol can become airborne and spread to anyone it contacts. It is also very dangerous for people who are severely allergic to be around airborne urushiol as it can cause breathing problems.

Photo Credit: WebMd

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