7 Poisonous Plants to Avoid

How to recognize them and what to do if you touch one
spurge plant Photo: Taina Sohlman/Shutterstock
people hiking in jungle
poison ivy
Oleander
poison oak
Poison sumac leaves
spurge plant
machineel tree fruit
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Spurges

Spurges are part of a plant genus called euphorbia, whose more than 2,000 members include Poinsettas as well as aggressive, drought-resistant weeds that are particularly common in California and the West. The small, flower-like leaves have a toxic milky sap known as latex. The poisonous sap protects the plant from deer and other plant-loving animals, and it will leak out at the slightest break. Besides causing skin irritation, the sap can do lasting damage to your eyes. If you get the sap in your eyes by rubbing them, it can cause a painful inflammation and even permanent blindness. If you get any sap in your eye, seek emergency care immediately.

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