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

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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!

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Tuesday - May 08, 2012

From: nebo , NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Poisonous Plants, Trees, Vines
Title: Rash resulting from cutting trees in NC.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My boyfriend was cutting some trees yesterday. He had thorns in his hands after he was done, and today he has a rash on his legs, a fever and he feels like throwing up. Can you tell me if its symptoms of some kind of poison plant or tree? thanks

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty plants is hoping that your boyfriend has sought some medical attention by now.

The rash on the legs brings to mind poison ivy caused byToxicodendron radicans (Eastern poison ivy)  (more photos) which grows in North Carolina. The rash is an allergic reaction to the chemical urushiol that is produced by the plant. Fever and nausea aren’t usually listed as symptoms, so there is probably another cause for these problems.

It would be helpful to know the names of the trees that he was cutting, and then you could check them out in “Poisonous Plants of North Carolina” to see if they might be toxic. Contact the McDowell County office of NC Cooperative Extension for help with the identification.

Did I mention getting some medical attention?

 

 

 

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