We are blessed with some of the best weather and landscapes in the country. But living in the great state of Texas comes with some risks. Not only do we have poisonous snakes, hordes of fire ants, and clouds of mosquitoes, but there are even plants that can do us harm. While we enjoy the great weather this summer, be on the lookout for these dangerous plants.
Poison Ivy and Poison Oak
Poison ivy and poison oak are widespread throughout the United States. These plants are infamous for the painful blisters they cause when exposed to the skin. Both plants are identifiable by their clusters of three leaves. Poison oak has lobed leaves like that of an oak tree, while poison ivy has smooth leaves that round to a point.
Poison ivy and poison oak both contain a chemical called urushiol that causes the itchy blisters we know so well. Urushiol is so potent that it can bind to the skin, and in less than 30 minutes, it will be too late to wash off. Homeowners should use extra precautions when working in overgrown areas. If you do come into contact with either of these plants take a shower immediately and wash all of the clothes you were wearing. Clean off any tools that came into contact with the poison.
Urushiol can remain hidden in clothes, tools, and even trees that once hosted the plant. Never burn poison ivy or oak, the urushiol can be carried on the smoke and can get into your mouth, lips, and even down your throat.
Also known as Devil’s Weed, Native Americans once used this highly toxic plant for its hallucinogenic properties. While humans ingest the plant, it rarely poses a major problem to farmers and livestock. Symptoms in livestock can happen anywhere from a few minutes after eating the plant to up to several hours. They can include: dehydration, dilated pupils, agitation, increased heart rate, trembling, convulsions, and possibly death. Jimson weed can grow three to five feet tall with large irregular leaves and large white to purple flowers.
Poison hemlock is a biennial plant that grows all over the United States. It can grow up to 10 feet tall with white, umbrella-shaped flower clusters. Most of the plant contains toxic chemicals called pyridine alkaloids. Animals are at risk of grazing on this plant or when it accidentally gets mixed in with hay.
Symptoms of poisoning occur within a few hours of ingestion. The symptoms are broken up into two phases: the stimulation phase and the depression phase.
- Muscle tremors
- Partial paralysis
- Slow heart rate
- Low body temperature
- Slow respiration rate
Bull nettles are perennials built for the hot and dry climate of Texas. The plant is covered in needles that house a chemical that can inflict an agonizing burn on anything or anyone unfortunate enough to graze up against it. The burning sting can last over a week and can even lead to an infection known as cellulitis. Luckily, bull nettle stings are only temporary and mild compared to the other plants on this list. There are plenty of home remedies to help take the sting out of bull nettles.
Hire the Lawn and Weed Experts at Ashton Walden
If you notice any of these dangerous plants are in your yard and put your family at risk, don’t hesitate to call the pros at Ashton Walden. We have years of experience dealing with weeds and Texas lawns.