En EspaŅol

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
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
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

Allergy-causing plant in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area
March 17, 2011 - Do you know what is growing (or floating in the air) in the DFW metroplex now, but not growing or floating the rest of the year? I have a 3 year old that has gotten extremely itchy this time of the ...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of poison ivy
May 08, 2009 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, Likewise I also have a shady area in my yard with overgrowth of poison ivy. It borders a small duck pond and we have a Golden Retriever. I too would like to plant soon afterward...
view the full question and answer

Pet-friendly plants for ground cover in Bastrop TX
June 21, 2010 - Any pet-friendly plants that can be used for ground-cover in Central Texas?
view the full question and answer

Plants to replace poison ivy in Kingsport TN
July 03, 2009 - Am in the process of killing off poison ivy that is growing vigorously. What do you recommend to plant in its place. I don't want to leave area open to other invasive plants. (Yes, poison ivy is a...
view the full question and answer

Pruning the leaves of Sago Palm.
March 10, 2010 - Is it a cardinal sin to remove all the sago palm branches? This winter they were so badly scorched by the cold that hardly a frond went unaffected. So I cut them all off as I needed to get around the...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center