5 Poisonous Plants To Avoid
Nearly every animal has defenses against predators, but what about plants? Looking at most plant life, it is hard to believe that they are alive. They do not appear to move or breathe, and yet they do. Unfortunately, most plants have little protection against their predators, and some that do, find their defenses somewhat lacking. However, there are a select few species that use chemicals to affect the flesh or poison the body to defend their roots. As emergency preppers, it is necessary to acknowledge and understand those plants that pose the most significant threat to your survival. There are at least five plants to be aware of in the wild.
1. Poison Ivy
Poison ivy, or Toxicodendron radicans, is a common plant found throughout the U.S. As children, people learn the short proverb, "leaves of three, let it be." The plant's three-leaf characteristic is very identifiable, but it is necessary to understand how it grows and how the blistering agent, urushiol, is transmitted.
Poison ivy can grow like vines, up tree trunks, but it can also resemble shrubs when young. The poisonous agent of the plant is found in the oil of the vegetation, which is on every part of the plant. If you live in an area with overgrowth, be sure to remove it carefully. Do not burn it, as the oil will transfer to the smoke and fumes, affecting your lungs. Also, be careful about where your pets play because they can transfer the oil to you.
Pokeweed, or Phytolacca americana, is a diverse species. You can come across this poisonous plant in the city and rural country because birds plant the seeds of the berries. While a traditional edible green in the South for a time, Pokeweed has lost its appeal in modern times because of poisonous attributes.
You can identify pokeweed from the pinkish-red color of the branches and their thick and upright position. This plant grows rapidly, and the berries grow in distinctive clusters. While the appearance of the berries is similar to blueberries, you should not eat any part of this plant.
3. Jimson Weed
Jimson weed, or Datura stramonium, is often better known as the corruption of Jamestown weed. It is a toxic hallucinogenic and potentially lethal if ingested. While a traditional plant of shaman rituals, it is mostly sought after by adolescents looking for a high. The flower and stem of the Jimson weed are unique, with a green cucumber-like shape and a white flower.
4. Giant Hogweed
Giant hogweed, or Heracleum mantegazzianum, is a summer-flowering carrot relative. However, it grows to 10 or more feet within two to three years. When young, it often resembles safer vegetation, which presents a tremendous risk to people.
While you should not touch any part of this plant, the sap contains a blistering agent, furocoumarin, which causes extremely painful rashes and blisters on the skin. Also, if the sap gets in your eye, it can cause temporary or permanent blindness.
5. Poison Hemlock
Poison hemlock, or Conium maculatum, is also part of the carrot family and is quite beautiful. However, ingestion or contact can lead to muscle paralysis or death because of the toxin coniine. The plant roots resemble wild parsnip, and the leaves resemble parsley.
Learn about poisonous plants and stay safe. Keep reading BlackOpsTac for more valuable insights.