With the warmer weather fast approaching, it’s only a matter of time before we’re all outdoors, soaking up the sun and enjoying life.
However, there are a whole bunch of plants out there that can be harmful to our health, and sometimes even deadly, if ingested. Of course, most of us know how to spot poison ivy, but what about giant hogweed or bloodroot? Both will leave one heck of a burn, and are found right here in our own backyards.
Read on to learn how to spot the poisonous plants lurking across Canada, and what will happen if you or a pet come into contact with them.
11 poisonous plants you and your family need to know about
BloodrootDon't be fooled by this poppy-like flower. It may look harmless and pretty, but it can be fatal if ingested by a pet. The sap from the plant can also cause tissue damage in humans, so leave these plants (found in Nova Scotia and Manitoba) in the wild, and pick some dandelions instead.Shutterstock
Giant HogweedGiant hogweed hasn't always grown on Canadian soil. But since finding its way into British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and parts of the Maritimes, Canadians need to be aware that its nectar can cause blisters and bad skin reactions. Its tall bush can grow up to four metres and produce large, dome-shaped flowers on top.Shutterstock
Poison IvyIf you were raised in a southern Canadian city, you likely know the saying “leaves of three, let it be." While most of us are familiar with the unpleasant effects that go hand-in-hand with a poison ivy encounter, a quick refresher is never a bad idea: keep your kids and pets away from these pointy three-leaved plants, or feel the burn. Literally.Shutterstock
American PokeweedNative to Quebec and Ontario, American pokeweed is a tall perennial (up to three metres) that produces berries enjoyed by some birds. And people can also eat them when cooked -- but steer clear of the roots leaves and stems, which can lead to vomiting, seizures and convulsions if ingested.Shutterstock
WinterberryFound in Southeastern Canada, including Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, P.E.I., New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, the seeds, berries, bark and leaves of the winterberry (a.k.a. holly, the stuff we deck the halls with) are all toxic. Once brewed as a tea and used for medicinal purposes, this bush's berries contains alkaloids, much like the coffee plant, but a more potent dose. Side effects if ingested include tremors, sweating, dizziness, stomach pain and diarrhea. Not so festive.Shutterstock
Water HemlockHere's one you really don't want to mess with. This relative to parsley grows all around Canada and is one of the most poisonous plants in North America. It's poisoned many a sheep, cow and horse, and just one bite is enough to potentially kill a child. What's worse, it acts fast. So take a good look at its small white flowers and sharp-toothed leaves and hope you never have to deal with its effects.Shutterstock
Black NightshadeThis berry-producing plant can be found in much of southern Canada. Its unripe berries (the green ones) are the most dangerous, having claimed the lives of children in the past, while the ripe versions (the black ones) are likely to result in abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea.Shutterstock
The DaffodilPretty? Sure it is. But the daffodil, which can be found in B.C., Quebec, Ontario and parts of Atlantic Canada, has some more sinister qualities. Its above-ground parts have been known to irritate the flesh of those with sensitive skin, and its bulbs, which can be mistaken for onions, can poison people, pets or even livestock.Shutterstock
Canada MoonseedThe Canada moonseed vines look a lot like grape vines, but don't be fooled, friends! The fruit on these creepers can be toxic if eaten. The results? Convulsions, seizures and, in extreme cases, death. A word to the wise: when in the wild, only eat vegetation you're sure of.Shutterstock
ThunderwoodAlso known as poison sumac, this shrub has long branches with two leaves on each side every few inches. If you or a family member comes into contact the plant, the reaction will be similar to poison ivy as it shares the same nasty oils: a rash with uncomfortable itching and burning. Not fun.Shutterstock
Death CamasAny plant that contains the word “death" in its name is worth steering clear of. That includes death camas, which grow in western Canadian provinces. These flowers sprout from the ground with tough, waxy leaves; look out for the small white flowers that blossom in the springtime.Shutterstock