Pinpointing poisonous plants


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Poisonous plants paint the Wabash Valley and some of those can cause harm to you or your children.

“This is one of the most poisonous plants growing in our area right now, this is pokeweed,” explained Peter Coppinger, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology at Rose-Hulman.

“They bloom into these flowers and in the summer they grow the fruit right here, and these are what are the most poisonous,” said Coppinger.

Although they smell and look like an innocent flower, these are a posy of poisonous plants can be dangerous. But there is one poisonous plant that is notorious across the region, and that is poison ivy.

“So people say the best way to identify poison ivy is ‘leaves of three let it be’, but there are so many plants of leaves of three, so they are very hard to identify,” said Coppinger.

So what’s the best way to pin point the poison?

“The basic characteristics, you pick a stem and they go up in alternate directions,” explained Coppinger.

And although not everyone is allergic to poison ivy, Coppinger says “don’t be too cavalier about trooping through a field of poison ivy. Even if you aren’t allergic to it, you can still develop sensitivity to it over time.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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