We enjoy sharing all things poison ivy, but did you know there
are other plants that can make you itch or may be potentially
dangerous? We consulted the American Academy of Dermatology
to get a list of common plants that cause misery.
Plants in the Garden
Fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden are wonderful, but
some of their plants can make you itch or cause a rash when
handling them. Strawberries, tomatoes, hot peppers and garlic can
all cause rashes to those who are sensitive to them.
Strawberry and Tomato Plants
Hot Pepper and Garlic Plants
Rose hips, the round portion of the
rose flower just below the petals, are commonly used in supplements
and teas, but the plants can cause an irritating rash.
The borage plant is used as a cooking herb, but it has stiff
hairs that can penetrate the skin and cause a rash. Comfrey is also
a member of the borage family and can cause an itchy reaction when
handling the plant.
Borage and Comfrey
Remember to wear gloves when planting your winter bulbs! Tulip,
hyacinth or daffodil bulbs can all make you itch.
Tulip, Hyacinth and Daffodil bulbs
Poisonous Plants to Avoid!
Some plants should be avoided altogether. They can be dangerous
and cause more than just a minor rash.
Located along the Pacific Crest Trail in Southern California,
the poodle-dog bush can cause a blistering rash similar to poison
oak. If you come across the plant, you may be able to identify it
by its strong smell.
Giant hogweed is likely found along streams, in fields and
forests, and alongside the road. It is native to Southwest Asia and
was brought to the USA in the early 1900's to use as an ornamental
plant. Giant hogweed can be dangerous as its sap can cause severe
burns when exposed to sunlight and result in possible scarring.
Like giant hogweed, the sap from wild parsnip can cause a severe
burning, blistering rash.
Commonly mistaken for wild carrot or wild parsnip, poison
hemlock can be very toxic to both humans and animals. This plant
can be a problem in farmlands because the animals will eat it.
Poison hemlock can also be found along creekbeds, irrigation and
waste areas. All parts of this plant are toxic, so you want to
steer clear of it.
Even more potent than poison
hemlock, water hemlock only requires a minimal amount of exposure
to be poisonous to humans and animals.
Stinging nettle has hairy leaves that can causing itching and a
painful rash when it comes in contact with skin. We have a
longer post about nettle here.
We must not forget our favorites, poison ivy, oak and sumac,
which are well known for their rash-causing abilities.
Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac
As best practice, you should always wear protective gloves when
handling potentially irritating plants and wash up as soon as
possible when done. We, of course, also suggest cleaning up with Tecnu Outdoor Skin
Cleanser to remove any dirt and oils from your
Use plastic bags to cover a plant before you remove it and use a
fresh plastic bag for each plant. Leave the plant inside the bag to
dispose of it to avoid touching it in any way.
Cover your skin with long sleeves and pants to avoid contact
with potentially harmful plants. This is good practice whether you
are enjoying the outdoor trails or working in your own yard. Be
sure to wash any exposed clothing before wearing it again.
Use a weed killer or white vinegar to destroy the plant's roots
to avoid having it grow again.