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Poison Plants Non-Edible

Discussion in 'Nature' started by 2sweed, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    I thought it might be a good idea to put in about the subject of poisonous non-edible plants, because some types of plants are edible in different sections of the country, but different species of that same plant may be poisonous in other areas.

    The subject of poison ivy and poison oak, has been covered in another thread, so I am going to start with a plant species known as the "Spurges," (Euphorbia).
    These plants contain a bitter, milky sap that is irriating to the skin on contact and can be very poisonous if eaten. Some of these plants, such as Snow On The Mountain, are so toxic that bees who visit their flowers often produce poisonous honey.

    I am going to list each of these plants and then go into further detail in describing them so that readers can identify and avoid these plants.

    1. Snow on the Mountain- found in the eastern & central & southern USA & Mexico
    2. Wild Poinsettia- found in eastern & central & southern USA.
    3. Cypress Spurge- found in eastern & central, western & southern USA & Canada.
    4. Spurge Nettles- found in the southern states of USA.
    5. Milk Purslane- found in western & central areas of USA.
    6. Tread Softly- found in southern states of USA.
    Snow-On-The-Mountain (Euphorbia marginata)
    Grows from 6-36 inches tall. The tiny flowerheads are greenish, and surrounded by white bracts. The leaves are light green, with white margins. It's habitat is prairies and plains, waste places and fields. It blooms from June-Oct.

    Wild Poinsettia (euphorbia heterophylla)
    Size in height from 6-36 inches. The flowerheads are greenish, in flat clusters amid red bracts. The leaves marked with red are near the flowers. The habitat is damp sandy soils in clearings and forest edges. It blooms from June-Sept.

    Cypress Spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias)
    Grows 8-30 inches tall and it's flowerhead is 1/4 to 1/2 inches wide. These flowerheads are in flat-topped clusters, showy and made of tiny true flowers between 2 yellow bracts. The leaves are needle-like. It grows in meadows and lawns and fields. Blooms from March-September.

  2. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    Spurge Nettles (Cnidoscolus) & Tread Softly (Cnidoscolus stimulosus)
    Both of these plants are covered with stinging hairs similar to those on true nettles (Urtica). Each hair is like a little hypodermic needle with an acid irritant stored in its swollen base. The combined injections from many hairs can cause painful swelling and rash.
    They grow from 1-4 foot tall. The flower is about 1 inch wide. Male flowers are white to creamy, and trumpet-shaped in clusters with small greenish female flowers and leaves deeply cut and lobed and mottled. The plants are covered with stinging hairs. It grows in dune areas and hammocks, pinelands and coastal plains. It blooms from Feb-Nov.



    These links give basic information on these plants. There is an edible species called "Stinging Nettle" or "Common Nettle." ( Urtica dioica) but note the latin name is quite different. The edible type of nettle has stinging hairs on it as well, that can produce a rash, but the plant and leaf structure is different.

  3. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    Milky Purslane (Euphorbia supina)
    This plant resembles true purslane, but is a totally different plant. It can grow up to 3 feet long and trails along the ground. Look for sprawling, matted green leaves with purple mottling in the center of each leaf. If you break the stem of milky purslane, a white milky sap comes out. (The edible true purslane stem produces a clear liquid.) The flowerheads are clustered at the leaf bases. Grows in sandy soil and in gravel, fields and waste areas, lawns and gardens. It blooms from May-Sept.

    The following video gives more information on how to tell edible purslane from the non-edible milky purslane.

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