Florida is known for having a large variety of plants, here anything can thrive. That being said, there are a number of plants that can impact one’s health upon interaction. In this article, we are going to talk about 3 poisonous leaves and their reactions.
These plants contain a chemical called Urushiol, which is an oily resin that causes allergic reactions in many humans. All parts of the plants are toxic, causing skin irritation in the form of rash, bumps, swelling, itching, and blistering and in some cases, hospitalization.

  • Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans): the most notorious poison leaf around. It is commonly found in woody areas. This woody vine to small shrub climbs up trees and fences alike. It has 3 leaves with the middle leaf being a bit longer, in the fall they turn bright red/ orange in color.
  • Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum): common in woody areas, forests and open fields. The low-growing upright shrub has 3 lobed leaves with the middle being longer just like poison ivy. It prefers dry sunny locations. Turning a red-to-yellow color in the fall.
  • Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix): common in wetlands like swamps and marshes, as well as shaded hardwood forests. Of the 3 leaves, this one is the most troublesome. This woody shrub to tree has an open growth habit, the leaf is a compound with 7-13 oval-shaped leaflets that are oppositely arranged. The stems are red with great fall color in the leaves.

Safety is very important when interacting with any of these plants. The best way to be safe is to learn how to identify them and treat them if contact is made. There are a few remedies that can help reduce the reaction if interaction happens but they are not guaranteed to work if treatment isn’t applied shortly after exposure.

by cjackson8

Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert

Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.

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