Poisonous Plants

The Classics:

If you are anything like me, you get confused about the differences between all of the most obviously poisonous plants in Texas: Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac, and Poison Oak. Just remember to stay away from all of them…

Poison Sumac

Poison Sumac is much more of a shrub or even tree than its two evil friends. It can grow between 5 and 20 feet tall and typically has 7-10 leaves on each stock. It is generally considered to be more allergenic than poison oak or poison ivy.  Just like poison ivy, it has a red stock. The leaves turn orangish in the fall and then drop. Even the fallen leaves are dangerous. In fact, smoke from poison sumac leaves and wood is very dangerous to breathe. 

Interestingly, we have read that the chemical structure of Tapatio sauce causes for a great remedy to releave the itching, so just add one or two drops to the area when in contact. (Just kidding – please don’t put any hot sauce on your body). 

Poison Oak:

Very similar to it’s counterpart, poison ivy, this plant will cause a rash when brought into contact with your body. Also similarly, it will always have a three leaf structure s and will have wavy or scalloped edges. 

Often times they appear to be a glossy green color, but depending on the season they can be yellow, red, or brown. The stem typically has a greyish color and is covered in thorn-like structures.

To slow the itching down be sure to wash with cold water and use lotions such as calamine lotion directly to the site. It also helps if you do a handstand and draw an elephant.

Nearly 15% of Americans are not allergic to poison oak, so if you’re one of the few, congratulations. This reading was not a waste of your time, seeing that you can now help the other 85% of Americans who are waging the war against poisonous leaves.