Poisonous Plants

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Poisonous Plants, Pacific Northwest

Foxglove Plant, Poisonous Plants, BC Coastal Region
Foxglove Plant, 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.

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