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How to Identify Poisonous Plants at a Glance

There’s no hard-and-fast rule to recognizing irritating plants; the most common varieties are shown here. “The itch is caused by urushiol, an oil from the plant,” says Joan McVoy, a registered nurse and educator at the Nebraska Regional Poison Center, in Omaha. Wash exposed skin immediately with soap and cool water, then soothe with colloidal-oatmeal products.

Photography by: The Ellaphant in the Room

Poison Ivy

There are regional variations in size and shape, but this plant will usually have leaflets growing in clusters of three. It can be a low plant, a tall shrub, or a vine.

Photography by: The Ellaphant in the Room

Poison Oak

This plant produces leaflets that look like an oak tree’s; usually three (but as many as seven) grow on one stem.

Photography by: The Ellaphant in the Room

Poison Sumac

Also known as poison dogwood, poison sumac can have 7 to 13 leaflets on a stem and grows from 6 to 20 feet high.


Toxic Plants for Pets

Besides the obvious foliage listed above, there are some common household plants that can be harmful to our smaller friends. Watch the video to find out which ones are okay to keep and which ones you should probably throw away immediately.