Poisonous plants in Virginia that should not be touched or eaten

Margaret Minnicks

Poisonous plants in VirginiaPhoto byJames WhitneyonUnsplash

Virginia is a beautiful state with over 3,000 plant species growing in the Commonwealth. However, many of them are poisonous. Here are just six dangerous plants found in Virginia that should never be touched or eaten.

1. Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is one of the most well-known poisonous plants in the world. Not only does poison ivy grow all over Virginia, but it also grows almost everywhere. To avoid a reaction from touching poison ivy, you should know what it looks like.

poison ivyPhoto byRinck Content StudioonUnsplash

Poison ivy has clusters of three leaves. Poison ivy can grow as a shrub, small plant, or climbing vine. It frequently grows on trees and the side of older buildings. During the flowering season, the plant grows light green flowers that produce white berries.

2. Virginia Creeper

Virginia CreepersPhoto byK AdamsonUnsplash

The Virginia creeper gets its name because the plant is found throughout the state. It climbs and grows quickly, sometimes reaching up to 100 feet long. Some Virginia creepers have 3, 5, or 7 leaves, but 5 leaves are more common.

Virginia creepers produce a sap within the leaves and stem that has a high concentration of raphides that can cut through the skin and cause rashes and allergic reactions. While the effects are minimal, Virginia creepers should be avoided by humans and dogs.

3. Pokeweed

pokeweedPhoto byYouTube Screenshot

Pokeweed is very poisonous and should not be consumed. It is considered a pest for farmers since the plant grows and spreads quickly. Pokeweed can grow up to 8 feet in just one year. The leaves are light green with purple or red stems. The green and white flowers bloom in spring and produce purple (almost black) berries. All parts of this plant are dangerous.

The highest concentration of toxins is in the roots, leaves, and ripened or unripened berries. If you consume the toxins in small quantities, you may need to be hospitalized. Keep children away from pokeweed because they are attracted to the bright berries.

4. Poison Oak

poison oakPhoto byJames WhitneyonUnsplash

Poison oak resembles poison ivy and also leaves people with similar reactions. The plant is widespread in Virginia and can grow up to 3 feet tall. This plant usually grows in thick woods and forests. The leaves have three leaflets and are hairy.

Poison oaks contain, urushiol, an allergenic mixture that has similar effects as poison ivy. If you come in contact with poison oak, the effects begin with a light red and mild rash that can worsen and blister.

5. Giant Hogweed

Giant HogweedPhoto byVlad KutepovonUnsplash

Giant hogweed is a dangerous plant found in Virginia. It grows in open fields and roadsides, and it is large and invasive. If you get the toxic sap on your skin, the reaction is quick and can happen in as little as 15 minutes. The reaction can also last for a few days.

6. Poison Hemlock

Poison HemlockPhoto byPixabay

Poison hemlock should not be touched or consumed. It spreads quickly and grows in many environments because of its hardiness. The flowering plant can sometimes grow up to 12 feet. This plant has beautiful and smooth green stems with streaks of purple or red. The leaves are thin and lacy. In its second year, the plant produces flowers that are tiny, white, and grow in clusters.

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I love pop culture, movies, television, and entertainment. I keep up to date on the latest movies and television shows. I like sharing news about them. I also like sharing information about different foods and their health benefits. I have been a high school teacher and a college professor for over 50 years and an online writer for over 30 years. I have three degrees: BA in English and Literature, MA in Christian Education, and MDiv in Theology. Get to know me through my writing.

Richmond, VA

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