En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Poisonous plant in Ohio with hydrangea-like flower

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 09, 2008

From: Hudson, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Poisonous plant in Ohio with hydrangea-like flower
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I was sure that I had read that there is a poisonous bush that is native to Ohio that has flowers something like a white hydrangea..or was it queen ann's lace? I believe the flowers could cause severe respiratory distress. Any ideas of what this shrub could be?

ANSWER:

Hydrangea spp. can be toxic (nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, sweating) but only if eaten in large quantities. Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota) leaves cause skin irritation, but are edible if cooked properly. I think it is more likely that you read about one of the "hemlocks".

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is highly toxic with a large variety of symptoms. This is an introduced species from Europe and is, supposedly, what Socrates drank when sentenced to death for "refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state" and "of corrupting the youth". Even though it is introduced it has spread over almost all of North America, including most of Canada.

Water hemlock (Cicuta maculata), a native plant of the same family (Family Apiaceae, Carrot Family), is equally as toxic with similar symptoms. This native species has a similar distribution.

You can find more information about these two from the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System by searching on their botanical names. For Conium maculatum one of the "General symptoms of poisoning" under "Humans" is "death by asphyxiation". For Cicuta maculata, under "General poisoning notes", death is listed as "from asphyxiation".  The Indiana Plants Poisonous to Livestock and Pets data base lists these two in their "Extremely  Toxic" list.  These are definitely two plants to be avoided!


Hydrangea arborescens

Cicuta maculata

 

 

 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Identification of possible toxic plant in Austin, TX
June 20, 2014 - When we hike with our dogs along Turkey Creek in Austin, they seem to make a bee line to a small green leafy plant when they find it along the trail and eat a few leaves of it. We assume it's not dan...
view the full question and answer

Is Penstemon cobaea poisonous
May 12, 2009 - Is Penstemon cobaea Nutt or Wild foxglove poisonous like real fox glove? It is on a playground and Im concerned that it may not be safe for children.
view the full question and answer

Are Smilax species toxic?
October 23, 2009 - I have a plant that the agriculture department told me was similax. I have a severe allergic reaction to it, after digging up the roots (potato) and burning them. I had a feeling my lungs inside were ...
view the full question and answer

Skin irritation caused by hydrangea in Monroe GA
July 06, 2009 - Can Queen Anne Lace hydrangea cause a skin irritation such as poison ivy or oak? I picked up a branch that had broken off to discard and the following day I have a place on my arm about six inches lon...
view the full question and answer

Is Bushy Knotweed carcinogenic from West Grove PA
September 06, 2012 - Is the invasive Bushy Knotweed / PORA3 / Polygonum ramosissimum toxic to the extent that the spores are carcinogenic?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center