7 Poisonous Plants to Avoid

How to recognize them and what to do if you touch one
poison oak Photo: Jeffrey B. Banke/Shutterstock
people hiking in jungle
poison ivy
poison oak
Poison sumac leaves
spurge plant
machineel tree fruit
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Poison oak

Poison oak is the West Coast cousin of poison ivy. It crops up in woods, along streams and trailsides and worse — in the blackberry bushes where you’re trying to pick enough berries for a pie. Like poison ivy, its glossy leaves grow in groups of three and its branches sometimes sport white or green berries. ("Berries white, take flight!") It also causes the same horribly itchy rash. Wash any affected area right away and use calamine lotion to calm the itch. Since the oil from poison oak can linger on your clothes, make sure to use gloves to transfer them to the laundry, then wash them with detergent at the highest possible temperature.

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