Poisonous Plants Derek Tilley Plant Scientist USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center Aberdeen, ID Many poisonous plants or animals have harmless look- alikes •Monarch and Viceroy Coral snake and Scarlet King snake Poison Ivy •Leaves in 3’s •Leaves have a “thumb” •Turns red in fall •Often a vine •White berries Look-Alikes? •Shady areas, canyons, •AZ to Canada to East Coast Poison Oak •3 lobed leaves •Woody shrub or vine •Glossy leaves •Red in fall •Foothills from Baja to B.C. Poison Sumac •Woody shrub or small tree •Red in fall •Eastern states Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and • Toxins in oils • Anything touched is Poison Sumac contagious • Oils are broken down by soap • Wash before oil dries (10 to 20 minutes max.) • Wash hands • Wash clothing, shoes • Do not burn! Oil travels in smoke • Can not spread from blisters • Treat with Calamine Lotion Poison Hemlock and Water Hemlock The suicide of Socrates 399 BC, Athens. Poison Hemlock Poison Hemlock Description Symptoms •Tremors •Parsley or carrot-like •Loss of muscle leaves control •Clusters of small white •Seizures flowers •Salivation •Dilated pupils •Reddish dots on stems •Sweating •Common in ditches, •Ascending paralysis streams and even •Death backyards in Idaho, Utah and other states Water hemlock Water Hemlock Description Symptoms •Clusters of small white •Nausea flowers •Abdominal •Cross section of root pain shows chambers •Tremor •Found in mountain •seizures streams, springs, ditches and ponds throughout N. America *A single bite of the root, which contains the highest concentration of toxin, has been reported to kill an adult! Giant Hogweed Giant Hogweed Description Symptoms •10 to 20 feet tall •Plants exude clear watery sap •Clusters of small white flowers •Sensitizes skin to ultraviolet radiation •Large leaves •Sap + sun = infection, •Introduced weed found blisters and scarring currently in Washington State and the northeast. May be moving to ID Panhandle. QUIZ Death Camas Sego Lily Death Camas Description Symptoms •Many small cream to •Nausea yellow flowers •burning of mouth and throat •Grass or lily-like leaves •Salivation •Valleys and foothills in •muscular western states weakness •Vomiting •Diarrhea •death *Often mistaken for sego lily by tuber hunters and scouts Common House Plants Oleander Symptoms •Nausea •Vomiting •Accelerated or slowed heartbeat •Heart failure All parts are very poisonous. One leaf is enough to cause death Morning Glory Symptoms •Drowsiness •Nausea •Vomiting •Diarrhea •Numbness of extremities •Muscle tightness •Hallucinations Dumbcane Painful and immediate swelling of the mouth and throat occurs after chewing on dumbcane. Speech impediment can occur, sometimes lasting for several days. Avoid eye contact with the juices which can result in intense pain and swelling. Symptoms YEW •Nausea •Vomiting •Increased salivation •Stomachache •Diarrhea •Sleepiness •Shortage of breath •Trembling •Spasms •Malfunction of the All parts of the plant are poisonous. heart which leads to Reported poisonings caused by the usage of yew utensils. collapse and death Rhubarb During World War I rhubarb leaves were recommended as a substitute for other veggies that the war made unavailable. Apparently there were cases of acute poisoning and even some deaths. Some animals, including goats and swine, have also been poisoned by ingesting the leaves. Symptoms difficulty breathing burning in the throat abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea Convulsions, coma death from cardiovascular collapse From an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for Oxalic acid, LD50 in rats is 375 mg/kg. So for a person about 145 pounds that's about 25 grams of pure oxalic acid required to cause death. Rhubarb leaves are probably around 0.5% oxalic acid, so that you would need to eat quite a large serving of leaves, like 11 lbs, to get that 24 grams of oxalic acid. Note : it will only require a fraction of that to cause sickness. Symptoms Rosary Pea excess salivation, colic, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, develop several hours after ingestion. Body temperature may rise to 104° F. Hyperexcitability and convulsive seizures are seen before death. Toxins are released only if the seed is chewed and swallowed. As little as 0.00015% body weight will cause fatality in humans. Poinsettia??? MUSHROOMS Symptoms •Feeling sick •Stomach cramps •Vomiting •Watery or bloody diarrhea •Liver failure •Death Symptoms may show up immediately, or may appear several hours later. Often when symptoms finally occur, liver damage is irreversible. “Edible” Wild Plants Almost all have a poisonous look-alike relative Most need to be boiled or soaked or roasted to get out toxins Acorns, elderberry, cactus, thistle and many others So what plants are safe to eat?