WARNING: Extremely Dangerous Plants Growing in Colorado Right Now
Sometimes things aren't always what they appear to be in Colorado, which is why you should be aware of some very dangerous plants and lakes within the state.
Ignorance is bliss, that is until you've realized you've just stepped into a brush that will cause extremely painful blisters across your body. Take a look at a few of these potentially harmful plants and lakes in Colorado. You'll be glad you did.
Toxicoscordion venenosum AKA Death Camas is a plant known to grow in Western North America. Death Camas is often mistaken for wild onion, but this is certainly not a safe plant to consume for people or animals.
Poisoning symptoms include vomiting, tremors, convulsions, coma, and worse if an animal consumes a high amount of this plant it will lead to death.
Poison Ivy + Poison Oak
Both poison ivy and poison oak contain an oil known as urushiol that causes irritation upon contact with the skin leaving itchy rashes and sometimes painful blisters. Even touching a glove that has come into contact with either plant can cause irritation to your bare skin.
While these plants may be toxic to us humans, goats reportedly love to eat poison oak and birds are fond of the berries. Never attempt to burn poison oak as a form of eradication, the fumes could be lethal.
African Rue is an invasive weed known to grow in places such as Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. The plant is able to thrive in drought-like conditions and produces like a bright green succulent with white flowers.
The African rue is extremely toxic to cattle, sheep, horses, and yes, even humans. The plant is said to contain at least four poisonous alkaloids. "The seeds and fruit are the most toxic, followed by young leaves and mature leaves," according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Actaea rubra AKA Red Baneberry begins to sprout in May and June. While the berries may look juicy and delicious, they are actually very toxic.
According to Utah State University Extension, human consumption of Red Baneberry can lead to, "gastroenteritis, stomach cramps, headache, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, and circulatory failure."
Sambucus racemosa AKA Red Elderberry is another dazzling berry that you may be tempted to pluck and eat right away, however, you definitely should not as it is poisonous.
Without proper preparation of Red Elderberry, the effects could be toxic. Elderberries need to be cooked to break down the alkaloid compounds. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture reports that "new growth of elderberry contains a glucoside that can be fatal to livestock."
Euphorbia myrsinites, otherwise known as Myrtle Spurge, is a blue-green succulent with hidden yellow flowers.
While incredibly beautiful, this plant produces a toxic white sap, that when ingested can cause nausea and vomiting. Even just touching the sap can cause serious skin and eye irritation.
Wild Parsnip/Hobo Parsnip
Pastinaca sativa, or, wild parsnip is a plant commonly found along roadsides, pastures, and other areas that do not see much disturbance.
This plant contains chemicals known as furocoumarins that can cause a skin rash, AKA parsnip burn. When your skin is exposed to the sun, the rash can worsen and you can develop painful blisters. Parsnip burn is even worse than poison ivy or poison oak and is not to be taken lightly.
Lakes with Algae Bloom
Most people try to stay cool during the Colorado summers by visiting their favorite lake, but taking a dip in a lake with algae bloom could lead to death for you and your pet. Harmful algae blooms do not only occur in freshwater but in saltwater as well.
According to the CDC, cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) can make the water look and smell bad, however, it is not possible to determine if algae bloom is harmful by looks alone, so play it safe and avoid waters that may be affected.
Touching or swimming in algae-affected waters can cause irritation to your skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Swallowing water with harmful algae is even worse and could lead to stomach pain, headaches, muscle weakness, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, and even death.
If you or your pet happens to become submerged in water that you believe may have been affected by algae bloom or cyanobacteria, rinse off with tap water right away!
If you believe you have symptoms from harmful algae contact your doctor or call the poison control center. If your pet swallowed any of the water, keep a close eye for symptoms and call your local veterinarian, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center external icon at 1-888-426-4435, or the Pet Poison Helplineexternal icon at 1-855-764-7661.