It’s springtime and daffodils and tulips are beginning to grow. However, before you start trimming away dead plants from your property, know that something else may be creeping closer to the surface — poisonous plants. Students from the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy partnered with the West Virginia Botanic Garden to educate community members and a local 4-H group about common poisonous plants.

On Sunday, April 3, WVU pharmacy students hosted a nature walk at the West Virginia Botanic Garden discussing how to identify poisonous plants, how to avoid them, what to do if you come in contact with them and potential side effects of poisonous-plant exposure.

Statistics from the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ (AAPCC) National Poison Data System 2009 Annual Report state that a total of 58,687 cases were called in due to mishaps with poisonous plants. In 2010, the West Virginia Poison Center received more than 200 calls about plant exposures in children less than 6 years of age.

“We want everyone to be able to identify the plants and the potential hazards of them so the chances of accidental poisonings are reduced,” second-year student pharmacist Ryan Harkness said. “Some plants, like poison ivy, are well known and can be easily avoided. Other plants, or parts of what are considered non-toxic plants, can be poisonous. While it’s OK to eat the stalks of rhubarb, for example, the leaves contain substances that can cause poisonings.”

Attendees also received printed materials listing other poisonous plants that are important to recognize and know the potential hazards.


 Second-year pharmacy student Jeremy Channell discusses irritant plants with a 4-H member.

Second-year pharmacy student Jeremy Channell discusses irritant plants with a 4-H Member.

For more information: Amy Newton, School of Pharmacy, 304-293-7192