Poisonous Plant List

Being prepared to identify and know what plants are poisonous in the wilderness is vital.What would you do if you ingested or came in contact with poisonous plants?

Backpacking and Hiking are becoming popular pastimes and what you know before you go into the wilderness can actually save your life.

One area that is rarely looked into are poisonous plants. It is vital to your survival that you familiarize yourself with native plants and which ones can harm you. Granted, the best medicine is prevention but sometimes it is impossible to follow that rule of thumb.

You should always carry a small pocket book of native plants and have this book handy at all times to readily identify plants that you have come into contact with. What you do not know can hurt you. These books are available at all sporting goods stores and are a valuable asset to any hiking or backpacking trip.

Many people like to gather plants and eat naturally while on the trail. This practice is great if indeed you are sure of what your eating. Many plants look alike and it is easy to have a mix up and accidentally poison yourself. If this happened, what would you do?

Treatments for internal poisoning are very simple. First let me say the best treatment will always come from a medical professional and any medical expert should be sought if at all possible,but in the instance of not being able to get to one you should do the following:

-Drink large quanities of fluids, preferably water.This should be done as quickly as possible after poisoning.You should then induce vomiting immediately after taking the fluids.

-Repeat this proceduce until the vomiting becomes clear fluids with no ingested plants visible.

-If the person is unconcious do not try to induce vomiting.

So what plants are poisonous if ingested?

Deadly Nightshade: This plant is often confused with miners lettuce, although some will argue they look nothing alike. This plant has large oval shaped leaves and it grows in bush form. Deadly Nightshade also has a five pointed flower and purple to black berries.

This plant contains atropine and alkaloids which will cause rapid heartbeat fever and dilated pupils. Just like the name says, it is deadly and treatment should be administered immediately.



Elderberry: Elderberry is another confusing plant since the berries can be eaten, but the leaves, flower, and stem can produce very toxic results. This plant will grow as a bush or tree with berries growing in large clumps and the leaves grow in groups of five to nine. The flowers grow in large clusters which have the appearance of being slightly concave. Elderberry is found in damp areas, especially in valleys and damp wooded areas.

Symptoms of poisoning include diarrhea and vomiting and profuse sweating. Administer treatment immediately.

Foxglove: Foxglove is a beautiful specimine of bell shaped flowers growing on long stems growing in single stalks. Foxglove is very deadly and for that reason if at all possible if ingested, seek medical help immediately. Foxglove is the plant used to make digitalis, a heart medication, and the effects of digitalis on a healthy person can be devastating. Rapid and irregualr heartbeat happens along with profuse sweating and possible cardiac arrest in a very short ammount of time.

Jimson Weed: Jimson Weed grows three to five feet tall and has oval shaped leaves that are three to eight inches long. The flowers seen on Jimson Weed are white and each has five points. This plant will also fruit a very spiny oval capsule about two inches long.

For years Jimson Weed was used as a cheap high for those daring enough to ingest or smoke it.

This plant is very dangerous and can cause immediate death if taken either way. It can also cause you to slip into a coma very fast and the minor symptoms are just as deadly, including very high elevated blood pressure to the point of devastating stroke.

Rhubarb: This is a very confusing plainly because of the fact that part of it is edible and used in Rhubarb Pies and other dishes. The stalks are edible, but the leaves contain very toxic chemicals which cause hemmorhage, abdominal pain, vomiting and often death. Seek medical attention immediately.

Although there are thousands of plants that mildly toxic or even deadly there is such a thing as contact poisoning.

Contact poisoning is where you actually come in contact with a plant that will make you ill by touching it. Some of the more common plants responsible for contact poisoning are Poison Ivy and Poison Oak. Others include but are not limited to Poison Sumac, Nettle, and even some blue green algaes that are found in shallow streams.

So how do you treat contact poisoning? Many chemicals are available over the counter to help with contact poisoning. Some of these drugs include calamine and cortisone. Another application of a wild astringent if caught in the wilderness without benefit of chemical drugs is effective also.

Dogwood and Chestnut bark can be boiled and then applied to the areas of rash to allievate itching and spreading of the poisoning.

The best way to actually treat the areas affected is to make sure the area is clean and washed carefully. Apply which ever available topical ointment or natural astringent to the effected area making sure to use a clean cloth or cotton to every area touched. If you use a clean cloth or cotton everytime the rash is less likely to spread and this also lessens the cross contamination effect. Watch the areas affected carefully for worsening of the reash and seek medical help immediately.

In any situation the greatest treatment known to man is prevention. If you never eat or handle a plant that you are not one hundred percent sure of then you most likely will never have to use the information furnished. Keep in mind, though, that some out on the trails will not be as careful as you, so the need to know your plants and treatments available for poisoning may very well come in handy.

© High Speed Ventures 2011