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Poisonous Plants

Foxglove Plant, Vancouver Island, BC
Foxglove Plant, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan
It is to your benefit to learn as much about wild poisonous plants as possible, many poisonous plants can be confused with edible plants. Learn to identify poisonous plants by studying field guides, pamphlets, books, films, nature trails, botanical gardens, local markets, and local people. Contact dermatitis from plants will usually cause the most trouble in the field. The effects may be persistent, spread by scratching, and are particularly dangerous if there is contact in or around the eyes. The principal toxin of these plants is usually an oil that gets on the skin upon contact with the plant. Symptoms may take from a few hours to several days to appear. Signs and symptoms can include burning, reddening, itching, swelling, sun sensitivity, and blisters. When you first contact the poisonous plants or the first symptoms appear, try to remove the oil by washing with soap and cold water. If water is not available, wipe your skin repeatedly with dirt or sand. After you have removed the oil, dry the area.Ingestion poisoning can be very serious and could lead to death very quickly. Signs and symptoms of ingestion poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, depressed heartbeat and respiration, headaches, hallucinations, dry mouth, unconsciousness, coma, and death. Do not eat any plant unless you have positively identified it first.
Foxglove, Vancouver Island, BC
Foxglove, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Birds Foot Trefoil

Bird’s Foot Trefoil is a herbaceous perennial. It has a well-developed taproot with side roots near the soil surface. It grows erect up to a height of 90 cm. The stems are slender, branch well, and are moderately leafy. Leaves are smooth and consist of 5 leaflets. The bloom is made up of a cluster of bright yellow flowers arranged in a group at the end of the stems. When ripe, the brown seed pods extend outward from the stalk and look like a bird’s foot. Read More….



Butter Cup

Buttercup, Vancouver Island, BC
Buttercup, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Butter Cup is a familiar wildflower, they prefer to grow in open waste ground and acidic soils throughout North America, not to mention the middle of my lawn. Their irritant qualities are probably the basis of the children’s game in which one child presses a buttercup to the sensitive skin just below the chin, to see if you like butter. The slight redness caused by such casual contact is supposed, in the game, to indicate a butter lover.  Read More….




The Foxglove Plant is the pharmaceutical source of the heart drug digitalis, which is poisonous in overdose. The plants are also helpful in preserving other species of cut flowers with which they may be arranged in a vase or in stimulating the growth and endurance of garden root vegetables, especially potatoes, with which they may be planted. Children should not be permitted to suck the nectar from these “bells” nor drink the rainwater collected within. Read More….




The Lupine plant grows all over the BC coast in great numbers. The flower is a herbaceous perennial, up to 75 cm tall.  Bonnet-shaped flowers are born in racemes on a single-center stalk that is up to 25 cm long. The flowers bloom in early to mid-summer displaying their wide range of colors from deep blue, purple, light blue, lavender, rose, pink, yellow, and white. Read More….



Spurge Laurel

The Spurge laurel Plant is a slow-growing, shade tolerant, long-lived evergreen shrub from Europe and the Mediterranean region that has escaped from gardens and naturalized in woodlands and other shady places. Spurge laurel can grow in a wide range of conditions, but it thrives in full to partial shade and well-drained soils. Its primary means of spread is by birds and rodents eating the berries, although it can also spread vegetatively by root sprouts. Read More….

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