Wondering which plant is the root cause of your summer rash?
Look no further to better understand each plant rash. Below is a quick guide to the most popular poisonous plants in central Wisconsin.
Location: Pastures, roadsides, damp forests.
Description – Leaves: Divided into three green leaflets, vary in size, shape and appearance, may turn yellow, orange or red in fall. Flowers: Greenish-yellow in clusters near the stem. Fruit: Yellowish-white round berry with stripes. Poison oak looks similar but with more lobes on the leaflets.
Toxin – Roots, stems leaves, flowers and fruit contain oils that cause skin irritation and blisters. Symptoms occur within 24 hours of exposure.
Treatment – Wash with regular or specialized soap (such as Tecnu) and water ASAP to prevent rash.
Location – Wet areas such as floodplains, swamps and bogs.
Description – Shrub or small tree, 5- to 25-feet high. Leaves: Seven to 13 leaflets glossy green on top and pale green on bottom. Fruit: Ivory to pale green and hang in about 8-inch long loose clusters.
Toxin – Contact causes blisters with 24 hours.
Treatment –Wash with soap and water ASAP.
Photo by Norman Melvin, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Location – Roadside ditches, wasteland and ungrazed grassland.
Description – Stem: 3-to 5-feet tall. Flowers: Five yellow pedals arranged in clusters. Leaves: Toothed margins and alternate along the stem.
Toxin: Plant sap from broken leaves or stems touches skin. Can turn affected area red like a sunburn. In serious cases, the skin turns red then blisters. If sap on skin is exposed to sunlight, it can form blisters.
Treatment: Wash ASAP, burning is relieved by covering affected area with cool, wet cloth. Avoid rupturing blisters. Contact doctor if extensive blistering.
Location: Grows in full sun in damp, fertile soil such as in canals, barnyards and fencelines.
Description: Perennial plant 2-to7-feet tall. Stem: Square, rigid and covered with stinging hairs. Leaves: Dark green and opposite of each other on stem, 3-to 6-inches long, sawtooth edges and stinging hairs.
Toxin: Stinging hairs can cause welts, inflammation and a burning sensation on contact.
Treatment: Remove hairs with tape or tweezers. Cooling creams, lotions and anti-itch creams reduce symptoms.
If you have been outside in hot sun, your skin rash may also be caused heat rash. Read our post about heat rash for more information.