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Poisonous and Non-poisonous Plants

Some plants can be poisonous if you eat them. Others can hurt you if you get them on your skin. For some plants, all parts of the plant are poisonous. For others, only certain parts of the plant are harmful. The danger can range from mild irritation to severe illness or death. Check our our list of selected poisonous and non-poisonous plants.


Skin Problems from Outdoor Plants

Mechanical injury, chemical irritation, allergic reactions, and light-sensitivity are all possible effects of exposure to certain plants – not just poison ivy.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Serious poisoning is unlikely when small pieces of azalea or rhododendron are swallowed. But swallowing large amounts of any part of the plant or honey made from these flowering plants can cause life-threatening symptoms. 


Pokeberries: A Grape Look Alike

Pokeberries are found in grape-like clusters on tall perennials with purple-red stems. Eating several berries can cause pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Adults have eaten the roots, mistaking them for medicinal plants. Serious gastrointestinal problems have occurred, including bloody vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and low blood pressure.


Foxglove

Foxglove grows throughout the United States. It grows in the wild and is often cultivated for its beauty in private gardens. All parts of the plant are poisonous, possibly even deadly, if swallowed. 


Tulip Bulb Toxicity

Tulips are beautiful and hardy plants grown from bulbs. Although a variety of symptoms have followed eating tulip bulbs, the exact toxicity of the plant when eaten has not been fully established. However, a well-documented toxicity from handling tulips is known as "tulip fingers."

Daffodils

All parts of the daffodil are toxic. When swallowed, it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Eating the bulb can cause severe irritation of the mouth and stomach upset. These symptoms are usually not life threatening and resolve within a few hours.

Can Poison Hemlock Be Deadly?

Poison hemlock is a deadly plant that looks dangerously similar to other edible plants. Modern day exposures are often the result of plant misidentification.


Virginia Creeper and Wisteria Toxicity

Although they are pretty, Virginia creeper and wisteria can be harmful if they are chewed or swallowed. Both plants can cause mouth pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and should not be eaten.

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can cause rashes if someone touches them. The rash is caused by oils in the plants. It may be severe enough to blister and itch for days or weeks. Most cases can be managed at home with household and OTC products. Severe cases require medical attention. If these plants are burned, inhaling the smoke can cause severe breathing problems.

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