Hikers in Iowas must constantly be aware of the possibility of disaster in a natural environment, even if they are merely passing through as visitors. While it is evident that you should avoid wolves, foxes, and other huge hunters, the forests of Iowa also contain other, less obvious hazards – poisonous plants – that should be avoided at all costs.
- 1. Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)
- 2. Wild Parsnip (pastinaca sativa)
- 3. Stinging Nettle (urtica dioica)
- 4. Poison Hemlock (conium maculatum)
- 5. Climbing Bittersweet (celastrus scandens)
- 6. Virginia Creeper (parthenocissus quinquefolia)
- 7. Indian Mallow/Velvetleaf (abutilon theophrasti)
- 8. Spotted St. John’s Wort (hypericum punctatum)
- 9. Sweet Violet (viola odorata)
- 10. Spurge Laurel (daphne laureola)
- 11. Belladonna Lily (amaryllis Belladonna)
- 12. Azaleas (rhododendron)
- 13. Baneberry (actaea)
- 14. Buttercups (ranunculus)
- 15. Dutchman’s Breeches (dicentra cucullaria)
- 16. Horsetail (equisetum spp.)
- 17. Jack-in-the-pulpit/Indian Turnip (arisaema triphyllum)
- 18. Jimsonweed/Devil’s Weed (datura stramonium)
- 19. Larkspur (delphinium)
- 20. Nightshade (solanaceae)
- 21. White Snakeroot (ageratina altissima)
- 22. Canada Yew (taxus canadensis)
When it comes to survival, some plants employ sharp thorns or foul-smelling leaves, while others have created powerful toxins to discourage potential threats to their life.
So when you’re off enjoying the tranquility of a lengthy trek through the woods, be careful and watch out for any hazardous plant that is unique to the place you’re trekking in.
A variety of creative techniques to make you sick have been devised by Mother Nature, and they include everything from simply touching these plants to eating various portions of them. So if you want yourself and your pet to be safe while spending time outside, it’s crucial to understand what to look for when it concerns potentially toxic plants and flowers.
Here are 22 poisonous plants in Iowa that you should avoid if you’re hiking or camping in the woods.
1. Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)
When the foliage or other plant parts of poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac are broken, crushed, or burned, an oil called urushiol is released into the environment. When the oil comes into touch with the skin, it causes an allergic reaction known as contact dermatitis, which manifests itself in the majority of people as an irritating red rash with blisters or bumps.
2. Wild Parsnip (pastinaca sativa)
Wild parsnip blooms from May to July, with vivid yellow flowers. Avoid the yellow-green heads with lace-like patterns. Blisters can form when you get their nectar on your skin and are exposed to sunlight. To top it all off, the nectar may be collected even if the flowers aren’t in bloom. Remember to enjoy them from a distance, even if they’re beautiful to look at.
3. Stinging Nettle (urtica dioica)
The stinging nettle can be found all over the state of Iowa. The stinging hairs on the foliage and immature stems of this perennial herb are coated with acid and other allergens, and the plant is poisonous. As soon as they are contacted, these thread hairs release the stinging chemical into the skin. This results in an itchy rash as well as an intense burning and tingling feeling.
4. Poison Hemlock (conium maculatum)
The roots of this plant have cells that contain a highly deadly brown liquid that is discharged when the root is broken or sliced, and this liquid is extremely toxic. There are several symptoms, including increased salivation and spitting, muscle spasms, dilatation of the pupils, irregular heartbeats and respiration, violent seizures, and coma. Death can occur as rapidly as fifteen minutes after ingesting a deadly dosage of a toxic substance.
5. Climbing Bittersweet (celastrus scandens)
Nightshade is a vine-like herb that can be found in many parts of the world. Bittersweet poisoning in dogs occurs when dogs consume the toxic leaves and berries of the bittersweet climbing plant, which is extremely toxic due to the presence of tropane alkaloids, which have a negative effect on the central nervous system.
6. Virginia Creeper (parthenocissus quinquefolia)
While Virginia creeper foliage does not possess urushiol, the toxic oil that can be found on all sections of poison ivy, the sap can still cause irritation in persons who are extremely sensitive to it. Oxalic acid, which is present in significant amounts in the fruits and which is mildly hazardous to people and dogs, makes the berries toxic.
7. Indian Mallow/Velvetleaf (abutilon theophrasti)
Indian Mallow is an erect, super soft shrub with spherical or heart-shaped foliage with roughly crenate-serrate margins that grows in clumps along the ground. The plant can grow to a height of 1-2 meters. The foliage is alternately oriented and has long stalks with velvety, soft, whitish hairs on them. The flowers are small and white, and the leaves are simultaneously placed.
8. Spotted St. John’s Wort (hypericum punctatum)
Hypericin is found in St John’s wort, which is a poison. It is extremely harmful to animals, especially those that are not habituated to it. The substance hypericin is ingested by animals and then travels from the gut to the artery. Some of the negative effects include vomiting, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and tingling of the skin.
9. Sweet Violet (viola odorata)
This plant’s roots and seeds are poisonous and must not be consumed. Violet is not a harmful plant, and the only way it could be toxic is if it is used incorrectly or at doses that are excessive. In general, it is thought to be a safe plant. Due to its high saponin concentration, it may have a negative impact on the human body.
10. Spurge Laurel (daphne laureola)
Despite the fact that spurge laurel can flourish in a variety of environments, it flourishes in complete to partial shade and quite well-drained grounds. Its principal mode of spreading is by the consumption of berries by birds and rats, while it can also grow vegetatively through root sprouts. Humans, dogs, and cats are poisoned by the berries, foliage, and bark of this plant.
11. Belladonna Lily (amaryllis Belladonna)
The belladonna plant is poisonous and contains a variety of alkaloids, including pancracine, lycorine, and amaryllidine, among others. Humans may have vomiting and diarrhea as a result of this. Drooling, nausea, diarrhea, gastrointestinal pain, lethargy, and cardiac or kidney failure are all symptoms of these poisons in wildlife, which can be seen in grazing species.
12. Azaleas (rhododendron)
Azalea bushes are poisonous in all forms and at all periods of their life cycle. Grayanotoxins are toxins found in these plants. Ingestion of these poisons can result in a variety of symptoms that differ between people and animals. It hurts the mouth and has the potential to make you feel sick to the point of vomiting. Children may confuse it for honey and ingest the nectar, which is toxic.
13. Baneberry (actaea)
If the fruits of Red and White Baneberry are consumed, they are extremely poisonous and can have a negative impact on the neurological system. Baneberries have been linked to the deaths of children in Europe, but they have not been linked to the deaths of humans or cattle in the United States, according to reports.
14. Buttercups (ranunculus)
The leaves of this plant are complex, with three strongly lobed leaflets, and they have smooth stems and yellow flowers. It is important to note that while dried buttercup is not harmful, the leaves of this plant are exceedingly poisonous, and swallowing it can result in diarrhea, nervous twitching, and seizures.
15. Dutchman’s Breeches (dicentra cucullaria)
Dutchman’s breeches, like its related squirrel corn, produce the neurotoxic alkaloid isoquinoline, making all sections of the plant dangerous to cats, cattle, and people. An animal’s shaking, wobbling, nausea, vomiting and difficulty breathing are all symptoms of tuberculosis caused by the underground tubers. Even the slightest skin contact with Dutchman’s breeches can cause temporary redness and itchiness in the affected area.
16. Horsetail (equisetum spp.)
The contaminated hay could cause toxicity if it is mixed with this plant during the hay-making process. Unfortunately, your horse will not enjoy this grain due to its high silicate content. The initial sign of poisoning is a dulling of the fur, followed by jerky movements. As a result, muscular tone and control are lost if it is not treated.
17. Jack-in-the-pulpit/Indian Turnip (arisaema triphyllum)
Jack-in-the-pulpit plants can be found growing in wetlands and moist, forested places throughout North America. All portions of Jack in the pulpit can induce severe discomfort, nausea, diarrhea, redness, vomiting, swelling of the lips and tongue, increased salivation, and blisters if they are consumed when still in their raw state.
18. Jimsonweed/Devil’s Weed (datura stramonium)
This plant can reach a height of 4 feet, and the leaves can be as long as 3 inches. Some people use the seeds of the white, trumpet-shaped bloom as a form of ecstasy; others eat the nectar. When you take it, you feel queasy, hungry, and feverish, and your pulse weakens. At times, you may even lose track of time or see stuff that aren’t actually there.
19. Larkspur (delphinium)
Patients may experience shortness of breath, fast and rapid heartbeat, muscle tremors, and even a loss of consciousness. Tall larkspur’s toxic alkaloid concentration reduces as the plant matures. However, alkaloid concentration fluctuates over time and from plant to plant and is of little help in predicting the consumption of livestock. When animals begin to eat larkspur, knowledge of poisonous alkaloid content is useful for management purposes.
20. Nightshade (solanaceae)
The deadly nightshade is among the most dangerous plants in the Eastern Hemisphere, and it is also one of the most widespread. While the stems are the most dangerous component of the plant, poisonous alkaloids are found throughout the entire plant. These poisons include scopolamine and hyoscyamine, which together cause insanity and delusions in their victims.
21. White Snakeroot (ageratina altissima)
White snakeroot is poisonous. As a matter of fact, the foliage and stem are harmful to both people and animals. The roots of white snakeroot are toxic and must be kept out of your body. People with ketone bodies in their blood have a poor appetite, vomiting, weakness, stomach pain and inflamed tongue and sinuses.
22. Canada Yew (taxus canadensis)
Because of this plant’s shadow tolerance, Yew bushes can be cultivated in either full sun or partial shade. However, the plump, bright-red berries of this plant contain a poisonous seed. Humans and animals are poisoned by the needle-like leaves on this plant. Severe drooling, difficulty breathing, muscle spasms, diarrhea, and weakness are all symptoms of this condition.