Texas has some of the greatest weather in the country which is what makes it such a great place to live. But there are also drawbacks to the good weather. We have longer mosquito seasons, snakes, plagues of fire ants, poisonous plants, and even plants that can do us serious harm. Here’s a list of five of the most dangerous plants in Texas.
These two plants are notorious for causing painful blistering rashes in most humans. Poison ivy and poison oak are common in the undergrowth and forests of North America. They are easily identified by their characteristic three leaves. Poison ivy has smooth green leaves while poison oak has lobed and irregular green leaves.
Both plants contain a nasty chemical called urushiol that can bind to human skin in less than 30 minutes. After that window of time, the urushiol can no longer be washed off. So if you are hiking, foraging, or just clearing up some brush in your yard, be vigilant and if you come into contact with one of these plants wash the area with soap and water immediately. Wash all clothes and tools that have also been in contact with Urushiol.
Urushiol is some hardy stuff. It can remain on clothes, tools, and even trees that once had poison ivy growing on it. Burning poison ivy carries urushiol through the air and can cause rashes to appear inside the mouth, throat, on the lips, and other areas depending on exposure.
Also known as jimson weed or moonflowers (because the flowers open up at night), devil’s weed is a highly toxic plant when ingested. Native Americans used to eat it for its hallucinogenic properties but, in large doses, it can prove deadly. The plant grows 3-5 feet tall with irregular-shaped leaves and large white or lavender flowers. It has become a problem in western states because it can kill livestock and pets if eaten. If you see one of these dangerous plants growing on your property you should destroy it.
Poison hemlock is an invasive plant that grows all over the United States. It’s a biennial which means it takes two years to reach maturity. It has clusters of small white flowers that look similar to those of a wild carrot or wild parsnip. Poison hemlock is extremely toxic to humans, pigs, sheep, cattle and other domesticated animals. It can usually be found growing in fence rows, ditches, and moist areas. If you find these dangerous plants on your property, proceed with extreme caution.
If you’ve lived in Texas your whole life then you know what these nasty plants are. Bull nettles are perennials and are built to tolerate drought and poor soils due to their huge root system. The plant is covered in needle-like spines that transmit a chemical under the skin when brushed up against. The result is agonizing burning that can last over an hour and could lead to the skin infection cellulitis.
To treat a bull nettle sting safely, first remove any spines stuck in the skin, then make a paste out of water and baking soda. Apply the mixture to the affected area and it should neutralize the sting.