Plants to Avoid

Whether you are camping or on a mission in an outdoor area, there are certain elements of nature that can cause problems. The matter of poisonous plants is always worth refreshing your memory when you know there is a potential for exposure. Here are a few of the most common plants to avoid in your next adventure or mission.

  • Castor Bean

One of the biggest plants to avoid due to the fact that it is often mistaken for food because of the beans is the castor bean plant. This plant has a broad woody base with star-shaped leaves, white flowers, and fruit or beans that grow in a cluster at the top of the plant. This plant can be mistaken for a food source. The entirety of the plant from the leaves and flowers to the beans are poisonous to a fatal extent.

  • Chinaberry

Not all plants to avoid are small shrubs or vines. The Chinaberry is a tree that can grow up to 45 feet in height and looks pretty enough to be non-dangerous. With toothed leaves and flowers that are usually light purple with a dark center, the tree presents marble-sized fruits that are light orange to a white yellow. The reason this tree is dangerous is because the leaves act as a natural insect repellent by way of toxins. Ingesting any part of this tree from the leaves to the fruit or flowers can be deadly for humans.

  • Death Lamas

Also called the Death Lily, this plant comes from a bulb and has grass-like stems. This plant is often mistaken for an onion related plant due to the appearance and the bulbs. However, this plant is poisonous including the bulbs, flowers, and the stems. This plant will look similar to an onion plant but will lack the onion smell as a giveaway.

  • Pangi

Another tree making the list of our plants to avoid, the pangi is especially deceiving because of the fruit it offers. It has large, brown fruits in the same shape of pears growing in a cluster among the heart-shaped leaves and green flowers. The fruit is incredibly toxic to humans and will cause death.

  • Oleander

This shrub displays straight, dark green leaves with flowers that can be a range of colors such as white, yellow, red, pink, or mixed colors. Its fruit is a pod-shaped structure that is usually brown with many small seeds housed inside the pod. This is one of the most toxic plants to humans. In fact, even just cooking with the wood of this shrub can be a fatal dose of its toxicity.

  • Poison Hemlock

Presenting a smooth stem that is usually hollow with a purple or red stripe, this herb has small white flowers that grow in small groups. It has a taproot that is solid. The plant is often confused for wild carrots because of the taproot, but even a small dose of this plant is enough to kill you. The best way to tell this plant apart from wild carrots is to look for the hairy leaves and stem found on wild carrots. The carrot plant will also smell like carrots whereas hemlock will not have that scent.

  • Poison Ivy

You can't have a list of poison plants and not mention poison ivy. While this plant is less fatal and more of a nuisance for most people, it is still worth mentioning so you will be able to identify it. Poison ivy causes contact dermatitis which can lead to itchy, red bumps, and in more severe cases, can even lead to difficulty breathing for those with a severe reaction to the plant. To identify this plant, look for leaves in groups of three leaves growing on a green to greenish brown vine. The flowers are greenish white and have green berries that are either a waxy white, yellow, or gray, depending on where they are in their growth process.