A relaxing hike along wooded areas or peaceful trails can be ruined by running into plants designed to irritate or inflame your skin with a single touch. If you know what to look for, however, you can avoid these troublesome growths as you go on your way. Four of the worst offending plants are below.
Perhaps the best-known of the irritating plants, poison ivy spreads its toxins by touch; the poison can be spread from animals or even inanimate objects to people. It survives in smoke, as well, so don’t try burning it. If you’ve ever heard “leaves of three, let it be,” take heed: the vine plant’s leaflets bunch together as such, making it easier to identify.
This plant can be annual or perennial, and its saw-like leaf edges aren’t hard to notice. The real source of trouble, however, comes from the many needle-like hairs covering the plant, which attach to skin when touched and cause symptoms like swelling, itching, and numbness.
Poison sumac changes from orange to green to red over the seasons, but its oval-shaped leaves and small green berries don’t always stick out. Watch out for its height – five to twenty-five feet – and location among wetter areas instead. Poison sumac causes bumps, inflammation, and rashes when touched, but fortunately this plant is uncommon.
Despite its pretty umbrella-shaped yellow flowers, wild parsnip causes severe skin discoloration, burning, itching, and blistering. The roots are edible, but the plant is better off avoided on a hike, especially when it’s in bloom. As an invasive plant, parsnip is unfortunately common in outdoor areas.
If you come into contact with this or any other plant on the list, be sure to visit an urgent care center, like Memorial Hospital of Converse County, shortly after. The latter provides within a safe time frame without needing a major injury or waiting in an emergency room, all by qualified professionals. Since these plants aren’t life-threatening but certainly annoying and painful, an urgent care center can help get them under control.
Nobody wants to deal with the fallout of these irritants, so it’s important to recognize them and stay aware of your surroundings. They can cost a lot of time and money to treat, not to mention cancelled expeditions. If you keep a good eye out, you won’t have to worry about your adventures getting off-track.