A backyard brimming with colorful flowers and plants is a beautiful sight. But did you know that some of the plants in your backyard could be poisonous to you or your pets? Today, I'm taking a closer look at some common backyard plants that are poisonous to eat. Also, I have some information on common plants that can cause a rash if you touch them.
Plants That Are Poisonous to Humans
- Water Hemlock: Water hemlock is one of the most poisonous plants in North America. If even a little bit of this plant is ingested, it causes a rapid pulse, tremors, muscle twitches, and convulsions.
- Foxglove: The nickname of this plant is "dead man's bells," so it's no surprise that every part of foxglove, including its flowers, seeds, stem, and leaves, is poisonous. Ingesting this plant causes vomiting, diarrhea, and even delirium.
- Rhubarb Leaves: Ingesting rhubarb leaves causes symptoms such as stomach pains, difficulty breathing, eye pain, red urine, weakness, and a burning throat. These symptoms usually occur about an hour after eating the leaves.
- Buttercup: This deceptively beautiful flower can cause nausea, convulsions, and a burning throat if ingested. The sap, flowers, and seeds of this plant are all poisonous.
- Mistletoe: Every part of this seasonal plant is poisonous, including its berries. Nausea, stomach pain, fever, and hallucinations are just some of the symptoms of mistletoe poisoning.
What to Do if You Ingest One of These Plants
If you ingest any of these plants or flowers, seek medical attention immediately. Bringing a sample of the plant to the ER can be helpful in getting a diagnosis and treatment. Fast treatment can sometimes be the difference between life and death.
Plants That Are Poisonous to Animals
- Daffodils: Daffodils are a lovely sign of spring, but it's best to keep your dogs and cats away from these hardy flowers. Excessive salivating, tremors, vomiting, and heart problems are all symptoms that your dog or cat may have been eating daffodils. I suggest avoiding daffodils in your garden if you have a dog that loves to dig up bulbs!
- Lilies: Many types of lilies are poisonous to dogs and cats, including lily of the valley, peace lilies, calla lilies, and amaryllis. If you suspect your dog or cat has eaten one of these lilies, look for symptoms such as vomiting, extreme lethargy, diarrhea, and excessive thirst.
- Tulips: Tulips are friendly spring flowers, but they are poisonous to dogs and cats. If your dog or cat has excessive drooling, lethargy, abdominal pain, dizziness, or difficulty breathing, it may have ingested tulips.
- Wisteria: Wisteria is poisonous to dogs and cats. Some of the symptoms of wisteria poisoning include confusion, repeated vomiting, dehydration, stomach pains, and diarrhea.
What to Do if Your Pet Ingests One of These Plants
Take your pet to the veterinarian right away if you suspect that it has eaten any of these plants. If you see your dog or cat eat one of these plants, take a sample of it with you to show the vet so the diagnosis is made quickly.
Plants That Cause Skin Irritation
- Poison Ivy: This well-known plant with groups of three leaves grows practically anywhere, including the woods, roadsides, or even beside your garden shed. If you touch or even lightly brush against this plant, you'll see redness, swelling, and blisters on your skin within a day of exposure. The best treatment for poison ivy is a topical cream to stop the persistent itching.
- Poison Oak: This plant has deep green leaves and yellow flowers that contain urushiol, which is the allergen. Touching this plant causes an itchy rash and swelling that is treated the same way as poison ivy.
- Poison Sumac: This poisonous plant is found near lakes, creeks, and other bodies of water. Every part of the plant causes a rash on the skin if it's touched. The treatment for exposure to poison sumac is the same as for poison ivy.
- Wood Nettle: Wood nettle has dark green, serrated leaves with small, prickly hairs on them that can sting the skin. The sting of a wood nettle lasts for only an hour and can be lessened by washing the spot with soap and water.
- Stinging Nettle: The sting of this plant is sharp and accompanied by a burning feeling on the skin. The sting can cause itching and sometimes produces hives. It lasts for about 24 hours. For relief, wash the area with soap and water. Then, combine baking soda and water to make a paste to lightly cover the area and reduce itchiness.
Also, be sure to wash your clothing in hot water after taking a hike in the woods. This gets rid of any dust or allergens you picked up along the way.
Thanks for reading. - Alan