This story was originally published by Field & Stream.
The plants are not there to hurt you. On the other hand, it does not bother them. Even the most harmless shrubs will not stop you from scratching, bleeding or, in rare cases, dying from respiratory paralysis. And some plants, including the 10 plants listed below, are well equipped to make your life miserable if you make a mistake. You can learn all about it by putting on a Speedo and racing through thick undergrowth. Or you can just read.
1. Poison Ivy
You already thought, after so many millennia of scratching, that people outside would have understood how to protect themselves from poison ivy. Nope. The problem is that the plant itself is somehow a shrewd: it can act as a creeping vine, a climbing vine or an erect shrub. The leaves may be uniform or slightly indented. They can be glabrous or slightly hairy, shiny or matte, without teeth or sawtooth. They can be the size of small oysters or, especially when the vine climbs into a tree-sized plate. That said, the leaves always come in groups of three. That's why the best thing to keep in mind about poison ivy is probably the first thing you've ever been told: sheets of three, that's it. be so. The active ingredient is urushiol. Put oil on your skin and you will have about three minutes to an hour to wash it before an allergic reaction occurs. Some people say that you need soap, but I washed the streams immediately after contact. a reaction. Trivia: A quarter ounce of urushiol is enough to give a rash to every inhabitant of the planet (7.59 billion inhabitants).
2. Jimson Weed
This annual grass is five feet tall, with a pale green stalk, spreading purple branches, and dark green leaves. Its large showy flowers range from creamy white to purple or even purple and exude a lemony scent. The rest of the plant smells bad and is extremely classified. It also produces a thorny pod the size of a nut that is hard to miss. All parts are toxic and toxicity varies greatly from plant to plant. Jimson weed can kill you. In addition to hallucinations and delirium, it can induce tachycardia (abnormal acceleration of heart rate) or hyperthermia (your body loses its ability to self-regulate and effectively absorb heat). The name is a corruption of "Jamestown weed", so named because it rendered incompetent the British soldiers sent to quell the Bacon rebellion in 1676. The men were hallucinating for 11 days, during which they kissed and smiled "like monkeys". easy.
3. Poison Oak
Poisoned oak is distinguished from poison ivy by the fact that it always has an erect structure and its hairy leaflets are almost always lobed, like the leaf of an oak tree. I do not know if I have ever seen poisoned oak or if some of the plants that I have identified as poison ivy are actually poisoned oaks. This is probably the last case, since both form a whole range of hybrids. The poisoned oak would be more common in the West and some sources claim that it can hold up to seven leaflets. But it usually has three and looks pretty much like poison ivy: it exists throughout the American continent in one form or another and it also contains urushiol. Some people think they are "immune" to oil, which means they do not develop contact dermatitis. But this so-called immunity may disappear at any time. And done often.
4. Spilled giant
If you love the outdoors, you probably know what a cow parsnip or Queen Anne's lace looks like. Well, if you see what looks like a mongo version of one or the other, stay away. Also known as a flower-cart, Pogshane and (unsurprisingly) giant parsnip, this weed reaches a height of 16 feet and produces leaves that can be four feet wide. The sap is phototoxic, which means that your skin is dangerously sensitive to the sun. The good news is that it takes more than just a simple touch to be affected. you must crush the plant to produce sap. The bad news is that the reaction is so much worse than a sunburn, it does not seem that the two conditions are related. A giant rash due to mold looks more like a serious burn, and inflammation that can occur in less than 15 minutes can result in blisters and scars. The giant dawn was introduced to the United States in the early 20th century as an ornamental ornament for its large size. It was then naturalized and found in moist soil in open areas of the Northwest, Upper Midwest, Northeast, and Virginia.
5. The nettle
It is a perennial herb that looks a bit like mint, except that it is larger, does not taste like mint and will puncture you in hell. One of the main characteristics of identification – and an indication that this will pique you hell – is a protrusion of small, spiny hairs on the stem and leaves, which can convey a cocktail of chemicals unpleasant. The pain of the bare skin that rubs against the nettle (nettle burn, burnt grass or witch hazel burned) is almost instantaneous and can give the impression of 39 be stung by a bee or by several bees. The good news is that the sensation usually disappears in a few hours and the rash in less than 24 hours. Nettle, which grows three to seven feet tall with leaves one to six inches long, is actually a healthy and widely consumed vegetable. Boiling the leaves, even for a few seconds, makes the plant safe. Boiled leaves – add a little salt and butter – are incredibly nutritious, although their texture resembles that of jute. It is thought that nettle has anti-inflammatory and circulatory benefits and has long been a common ingredient of folk remedies. Roman soldiers sent to Britain applied green leaves to their legs, either to promote cold weather circulation or to stay awake all the time. Since the punishment for falling asleep in the Roman army was the death penalty, nettles might seem like a good alternative.
6. Hemlock of water
That's what the Greeks did to hit Socrates, that's the story. "Hemlock water" is a generic term that refers to four species of highly toxic plants called in various ways: western hemlock, northern hemlock, spotted cow and spotted parsley. All flowering plants found in the United States are 10 feet tall and have pretty white flowers. The most reliable identification feature is its hollow, hairless stem, which is almost always marked by reddish purple spots or streaks. There is no room here for a complete identification tutorial, but be aware that poison hemlock is often confused with wild plants such as Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot), yarrow, wild fennel and the elderflower. All parts of the plant – flowers, leaves, stems, roots and seeds – are extremely toxic. Victims usually die of respiratory paralysis a few hours after ingestion. Even rubbing with the toxic hemlock causes severe skin reactions.
7. poison sumac
When most of us think of sumac, we think of staghorn sumac, a material that grows along the side of the road with spear-shaped leaves and a blurred, red, cone-shaped flower. . Poisoned sumac often grows near the staghorn, but it is easy to distinguish one from the other. First, poison sumac grows almost exclusively in swamps or very wet soils, and only to the east. For example, in South Dakota, if you explore the mountains, the sumac you are looking for is not poisonous. Secondly, while the staghorn has a fuzzy stem and sharp toothed leaves, the naughty thing has a non-blurred stem and smooth leaves that are usually more rounded. It also has greenish yellow flowers and white or pale yellow berries. It contains our old urushiol friend, but in a more potent form than poison ivy or oak, so beware. Some botanists consider sumac poison to be the most poisonous plant. Avoid at all times, including when the plant is dead. It's dead as a rattlesnake is dead.
8. deadly nightshade
Also called Belladonna, whose fruits are called devil berries or cherries of death, it is one of the most toxic plants in the Western Hemisphere. Native to Europe, Africa and Asia, and naturalized in Washington, Oregon, California, Michigan, New York and New Jersey, nightshade is a bushy perennial that can reach six feet, its leaves pale green oval, its purple flowers groups of three and produces dark purple berries. Leaves and fruits are a serious poison. The plant poses a particular risk for children, attracted by slightly sweet berries and which are known to die after eating as little as two. Although not as deadly or bittersweet, the nightshade – which is an invasive and much more common vine – produces red berries in clusters and will make you very sick.
You've seen this common perennial grass – and in almost ubiquitous places – up to 8 feet high along pastures, clearings, fences, and roadsides. Its sturdy stems, from green to reddish purple, support a large leaf cover and bunches of hanging berries resembling grapes that turn green and turn purple. Each part of the plant is or may be toxic, especially the white taproot. That said, young shoots – those that are not streaked with red or purple, but almost white, for example about eight centimeters – produce a delicious vegetable after being boiled in at least two water changes until they are tender. All the houses in which I lived had flames that grew within a 100-meter radius. I fed it to my mother, who compared her taste to wild asparagus. But as a general rule, you do not want to bother with this, as this can cause severe gastric distress, or worse. In the 19th century, the beaker killed a number of Americans, while it was a fairly common ingredient in dyes used to treat arthritis.
The common names of Foxglove – the dead man's bells, the witch's glove and the bloody finger – should be a very good piece of advice you would not want to disturb. Foxglove is a short-lived, non-native perennial that grows to seven feet and produces bell-shaped flowers in its second year. The flowers are usually purple, although the cultivated varieties may be yellow, pink or white. Well liked by gardeners for its beauty and robustness, it has been naturalized throughout the United States, especially along roadsides, rocky outcrops and gardens, including in schoolyards. And each element – seeds, flowers, stems – can kill you when it is ingested. Foxglove is the source of a powerful steroid used to produce Digitalis and other drugs to treat heart failure. The right dose can resume a blocked ticker if it is administered on time. The wrong dose – and the difference with digitalis is lean – kills you. Consumption of any part of the plant usually leads to nausea, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea. In fatal cases, victims experience seizures and cardiac arrest. The gardens are beautiful, but do not let yourself be killed.