The Poisonous Plants to Avoid While Hiking 

People would love to get some free time apart from their daily usual lives to experience something out of their book and to interact with their friends and family more in that free time, there are so many activities to do in the free time including picnic, movies and going on a hike. Hiking is an adrenaline rushing experience and can not be experienced during everyday daily normal activities, it is the main reason that so many people are considering to going on a hike in their free time.

Hiking can only be done on a mountain terrain but going on a mountain road does not count as a hike. It counts as going for a walk and there are some precautions and safety measures to be maintained while going on a hike on your own or along with some companions.

Hiking cannot be just performed right without any experience; one should have some wildlife and off-road terrain experience while going on a hike. Hikers must look out for every possible calamity while they are on their hike and to take obsolete care about their companions too, you must be more careful if you are taking your pet animal along with you.

You do not have to worry about them being lost in the mountain terrain, they can easily find you after an hour or few, but you must be very careful about the poisonous plants located on the mountains and he hill trails when you are passing through along their natural habitat.

So many people are getting affected in their life by going on mountain hiking and trekking, these factors include accidents, getting attacked by wild animals and getting in contact with the poisonous plants located in that habitat.

During the cases of accidents and getting attacked by wild animals you are aware of the situations and you take the alternative measures to avoid the further damage with the help of emergency response forces or by using the help of local departments who deal with such cases. But if you get poisoned by a poisoned plant during a hike it gives rise to two different situations.

Slow poisoning

In this case it would take too much time for the poison to take its role on your body and you may not notice the damage until its too late for taking any action, it may be days too weeks and in most of the cases the slow poisoning is not that much dangerous but shows some significant effects on your body for a long time.

Fast poisoning

With lesser symptoms any further indications these types of cases will have an immediate effect on the human body and might result Inn death in severe cases if left with out any primary responses. These types of toxic are basically concentrated and synthesized by the plants to affect the nervous system mainly inside any living being and slowly disintegrate the functionality of everybody part eventually as the time passes away.

How to Identify A Poisonous Plant?

To be saved yourself from poisonous plants while on a hike you must be know some basic facts and to have a primal knowledge about identifying the poisonous plants in the wild just by using your eyesight. You can look for the following signs in a plant to find out whether it is a poisonous plant or a harmless plant.

  • Observe if the plant is having huge area of circumference, because these poisonous plants are known to be invasive in the nature as it is a basic instinct of survival. The wild animals would never get near the poisonous plants and as there will be no one living nearby the hills and mountain areas no human is present to take care of them.
  • So, they basically grow in large groups and have a widespread area of leaves with no one to remove them from their place.
  • The poisonous plants generate their poison in the form of an oily substance through the leaves and the stems, so they would have a more natural glow than other plants and it is a pleasant view for a human eye. Do not be fooled by that beauty or the natural shinning feature of the poisonous plants.
  • If you ever find a plant with shiny leaves on your hike, be sure to avoid any type of contact with the leaves.
  • Another thing to notice is the colour of the berries they produce and the stem fluids, if you see berries of white and yellow colour that means you have no business with that plant anymore and immediately leave that premises for your own safety. It is not liked the plant is a moving assassin, but the poisonous oils can also affect you through the air.
  • Even if you cannot be able to identify through the colour of berries or there are no berries at all, feel free to break one of the plants stems and look for the colour of the fluid it excretes. If it is in white colour that means you have a poisonous plant at your disposal and you can use that poison to kill some one who used to bully, you at school.

We clearly cannot discuss about the whole evolution of the poisonous plants and their vast and different types of scientific names, so for your clear information there will be information provided below regarding some of the most encountered poisonous plants regularly in the wildlife vegetation and to avoid on a hike.

Jimson Weed

Jimson Weed

Most known as the thorn apple or the hells bells with the white coloured flowers of the plant which grow pointing upwards in direction, there are also so many nicknames for this plant. The only useful factor about this poisonous plant is they are used in synthesizing anaesthesia for medical purposes to treat patients during operations, that is because the plants contain neuro toxins which affect the nervous system of any living being.

The neural toxins are only good for the human body when synthesized by following the proper medical practice, if any part or the roots of the plant are directly consumed it would become a dangerous situation and will lead to death in some severe cases.

The prescribed treatment for the poisoning of Jimson weed is Physostigmine for severe cases and Benzodiazepine for agitation.

Another dangerous thing about this plant is the berries from the plant which have huge thrones all around it, that is the reason the plant is described as a thorn apple in some cases. The normal and regularly used name for this plant is “Dathura plant “and is also will be referred as an experimental subject of plant life in the field of plant biology.

These plants are generally encountered in moist regions like beside the ponds or moving water bodies, if you come across this plant in the middle of your hike do not let your pet get anywhere near it and watch over in the walking path for any thorn apples laying on the ground. Stepping on them or getting in contact with them might cause agitation on the skin surface.



A very dangerous plant to come across by in any kind of situation because it is used as a poisonous venom to lure and kill wild animals in the past where kings and kingdoms used to be around. The plant goes by the name of wolf’s bane and many other aliases in different regions basing on the serious purpose they have been used for.

Like any other poisonous plant this plants leaves and the roots are also been used in the medical industry for medical purposes but is so much harmful and a dangerous substrate if directly consumed, no one would eat the leaves of any plant on a hike but you have to be careful and watch out for the poisonous leaves accidentally appearing on the food when you are stopping by for a snack and also watch over you pets if they unintentionally swallow any of the leaves.

The poison from this aconite plant mainly affects the neural network of the victim and slowly brings them to the ground, the side effects from the poison are nausea, vomiting, weakness, breathing problems and death in the case of heart patients.

Astropa Belladonna (Or) Deadly Night Shade

Deadly Night Shade

A very beautiful plant with different vibrant colours and the plant colour varies depending on the habitat, the berry from this plant looks like a combination of an eggplant and tomato. These poisonous plants have naturally evolved to be attractive towards the animals which live depending on the green life vegetation, if they are successful in poisoning and eliminating the certain scale of population of the animals there is no more threat to their existence. This was all a part of circle of the life, everything is about the survival of self.

Even if you find yourself hungry on a hike do not eat any of the strange vegetation unless you have a basic idea about that fruit or plant, the poison from this plant is not that dangerous compared to the other plants in terms of affecting the human body, but the victim will be affected seriously due to the consequences they face after being poisoned.

The primary affect will be hallucination and the rest are unaware in the sight of the victim, so be sure to avoid this plant during your hike.

You can get out of the poisonous effect by carrying an antidote with you at all times while heading on to a hike, Physostigmine will balance out the hallucination affects of the poison and will help the victim to return into a normal state after a small rest.

Poison ivy

Poison ivy

You might have been familiar with this poisonous plant; it can be seen everywhere on the western hemisphere of the world with the suitable conditions for the growth unless there is some one to remove it while it is developing its roots. This plant is just a leaf plant with out any fruits or berries which is why its very hard to distinguish from the normal plants, that is why so many are affecting by it with out even knowing they are going in to contact with a poisonous plant.

The only sign you can identify this plant is through the shiny nature of the leaves due to the poisonous oil it produces, urushiol which is so much effective in causing skin related allergies and severe agitations.

The poison does not need a direct contact with the skin to be effective, the oil vapours present in the surrounding air can also do some serious damage. Nothing like the other poisonous plants the affects from this plant will stay for more than a week on the human skin. Moreover, do not let you pet near those type of plants, if they transmit the poison to you face accidentally you will wish that it is better in hell than the side effects.

The side effects are thin red lines on the skin, swelling, redness, itching and affects the breathing depends on the quantity of poisoning.


You have no other choice other than taking the safety precautions prior to your hiking, it is recommended to use the proper hiking gear and guide equipment to avoid any contact with the poisonous plants, the reason you must avoid these poisonous plants is, during a hike you would in a remote location which is difficult to point out for the rescuers at the emergency time. You can buy a proper outdoor gear from the amazon link below.

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So, you also must carry the proper emergency response equipment and contact equipment along with you. You can find the amazon link to buy a satellite phone which can connect you to the rest of the world at any place on earth.

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The concept of the hiking is to have a free and peaceful time to oneself distant away from the civilization and to have an adrenaline rushing experience, hikers must be more carefully in observing their surroundings and to be more carefully if they are taking any companions along with them. Extra careful if it is your pet.

Hikers must be prepared to face any kind of emergency and are experienced enough to act accordingly and take suitable measures for the scene. Carrying flares and distress signalling equipment is must in the case of adventurous trips like these.

Alison Moore

With an MSc in Plant Science from the University of Edinburgh and 15 years of experience in botanical research, Alison Moore has been contributing to our platform since 2020. Before joining us, she worked with the National Park Service, focusing on native plant preservation. Alison's articles are known for their depth and clarity, often drawing from her field experiences. Besides writing, she is an avid gardener, specializing in native and medicinal plants. She enjoys hiking and documenting rare plant species in her free time.

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