Be careful out there: 2 plants you should avoid at all times

June 10, 2019

Yes, it’s that time of the year. The first flowers and the weeds of summer are upon us. As you are out and about in the country, in the suburbs, or even in the city, please be careful of two weeds that have become increasingly common and can be, if not just very painful, deadly.

The first I’ll be discussing is the Poison Hemlock. This noxious weed can grow 10 to 12 feet tall and has purple blotches on its hairless stem. There have been cases of kids being poisoned by using the hollow stems as straws. They are sometimes mistaken for wild carrot. Wild carrots only peak at about 5 foot and smell like carrots.

Wild carrots have hairy stems, and poison hemlock is smooth. All parts of the plants are toxic, and they have an umbrella shaped flower. The juice of this plant was what they used to kill Socrates, so take a minute when hiking with the kids or for that matter the grassy overgrown area around your yards and summer places of recreation, and teach your children what this plant looks like and how not to touch it.

Now! One of my favorite noxious weeds, and I see this with sarcasm, is one plant that seems to have taken over. Natural to Europe, this invasive species has spread over most of the US. It’s yellow upside down umbrella like flowers stand on 45 foot stems, so easy to spot. I found out about this beauty by weed eating a patch of them not knowing that it causes the condition called photo-dermatitis. in a nutshell this plant makes you hyper sensitive to sunlight.

It’s the sap in this plant getting on your skin that causes the condition, not touching the foliage itself. And it leaves painful burns similar to if you had hot grease splashed on you. Then there is the beautiful brown discoloration that can last years! Mine took six months to go away. Herein lies the problem: the kids go to pick flowers and the next thing you know they have painful burns and blisters on them if exposed to sunlight. If you’ve been exposed to either, cover the area, or better yet ,wash the area and stay out of the sunlight for at least eight hours.

Please Wait... processing