En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - June 21, 2010

From: New Paris, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Poisonous weeds in Bedford County, PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am battling my second bad round of poison in a month, this time on my face and in my left eye. It's awful. Problem is, I have looked and looked for poison ivy, oak and sumac around my neighborhood, and haven't spotted it yet. What other types of poisonous weeds could be in my flower beds or in the empty lots across from my trailer. I live in Bedford County, - south central PA.

ANSWER:

You have already exhausted the three plants that we would be able to name right away that could be causing your problem. Since we are in Texas, it would be difficult to speak from personal experience, and while our Native Plant Database will tell us that a plant has poisonous parts, we can't sort on that characteristic to narrow down our options. We have two suggestions for you that should get you much quicker help than we can give you. First, there is a University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants website.  Explore that site, following directions, and perhaps you can get pictures; they probably are not all native to Pennsylvania, but then, the plant that is causing you problems may be an escaped non-native, as well.

Many plants beyond the "big three" you already identified have saps or flowers or mini-thorns that can be painful for a person who is sensitive to plant toxins.  We believe your best source of help could be the Penn State Cooperative Extension Office for Bedford County.  There is contact information on the website, and they are much closer to the vegetation in your area than we are.

The last recommendation that we would make is that you should be very careful when you go outside, at least until you identify the culprit and learn how to avoid or destroy it. Long sleeves, long pants, leather gloves, and no rubbing your eyes with or without the gloves. If you have pets that go out into the garden or the vacant lot, they may need baths more often. The irritant might not get through their coats to them, but it can surely get from their coats to your hands or legs or lap. 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Planting Mountain Laurel grown from seeds in Argentina
April 09, 2014 - Hello, I was transferred to Cordoba, Argentina 2 years ago from San Antonio, the climate hereis similar to S. TX, anyway I brought some mountain laurel seeds with me and they have been in 2 gallon pot...
view the full question and answer

Are Castor Bean Leaves Toxic to Pets?
September 13, 2014 - I understand that the beans of the castor plant on lethal if chewed on. Are the leaves that toxic? I would love to plant this plant and not let it flower, but I do have visiting grandchildren and dog...
view the full question and answer

Root cuttings for non-native, poisonous oleander from Mobile AL
December 16, 2010 - I need help with best method to root cuttings from my oleander tree. Please advise best method. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Is Norfolk pine poisonous to cats?
December 11, 2009 - Is a northfork pine poisonous to cats?
view the full question and answer

Do prairie verbenas (Glandularia bipinnatifida) have toxic sap?
March 16, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Wimberley, TX and my 6 year old daughter picked wildflowers for her Mom over the weekend. I believe the species was Prairie Verbena but not 100% certain. Now, fo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center