7 poisonous plants
What to avoid touching and/or eating in the great outdoors
Jack-in-the-pulpit grows with a long stem, three leaflets, and a cluster of red berries. Its main leaf combs over the plant to keep pollen safe; as a result, the plant is said to resemble a preacher standing behind a pulpit. It can be found flourishing in wet soils from Manitoba to eastern Canada.
The plant contains oxalate crystals that are especially concentrated in the leaves. When eaten, the crystals cause severe pain and burning in the lips, mouth, and throat, as they pierce their way through the digestive tract. In large doses, an individual’s reaction to the poison may include breathing problems, convulsions, coma, permanent liver and kidney damage, and—in very extreme cases— death.
First aid tips: If you eat any part of a jack-in-the-pulpit plant, remove remaining bits from your mouth and rinse with cold water. Then save part of the plant for identification and call the Ontario Poison Centre.
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