INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As you venture outdoors to enjoy summertime activities, the Department of Natural Resources is warning Hoosiers of poisonous plants that could be growing right in your backyard.
“You are out in the summer, you are pulling weeds, and boom you do not even know what you have,” said DNR state botanist Michael Homoya.
Experts say the wild parsnip plant looks like a wild flower. But, if you get too close and come in contact with the poisonous sap…you could end up in the emergency room. The toxic wild parsnip juices are sensitive to the sunlight and create a skin reaction that will cause a severe rash, blisters, and welts on the skin. The blisters cause scarring that can last from a few months to several years. If the sap gets into your eye, it can cause blindness.
“They are painful and do not appear immediately. It is not an immediate burn, it is a reaction just like poison ivy,” said Homoya.
Another poisonous plant on DNR’s radar is giant hogweed. Experts say it can grow up to 14 feet tall and say there are White flower clusters on the plant that can grow up to two feet wide and cause similar symptoms.
“Giant hog weed is rare in Indiana…for now,” said Homoya.
The CDC recommends rinsing off the affected area with soap, water, and rubbing alcohol to get rid of the burning sensation. They also recommend applying calamine lotion and anti-itch cream to the blisters.