Editor's note: The following is meant as general information
only and should not be used as a substitute for professional
Prickly burdocks are a foe to shaggy dogs and fleece-clad
After doing some weeding in a little country church garden
this summer, I rediscovered the dark side of gardening. Absentmindedly,
I had left my gardening gloves at home — a dreadful error.
A few nights later, a creeping, insidious itch crept down
my neck and back. Soon after, red, oozing blisters broke out
and spread across my body. The walk-in clinic doctor diagnosed
a bad case of poison ivy. The effect was, well, a bit of a
horror show, at least until the medication took effect.
Even experienced gardeners sometimes fall prey to plants that
can cause pain, misery and, although rare, even death. Some
are native species; others, non-native. Each year, people,
often children, and sometimes pets are poisoned or otherwise
harmed from toxic berries, bulbs, leaves and other plant parts.
Of course, most plants are beneficial and perfectly benign,
but hazardous plants, though much fewer in number, are found
everywhere. They grow on country properties or in woods near
swamps and streams. Sometimes, they are found on abandoned
lots in cities and suburbs. They can even be found in our
yards and homes. Readers, take heed: wear gloves, don't eat
strange berries, educate your kids and remove hazardous plants
that are a risk to you and your pets. Here are 10 common ones