Plants & Mushrooms

Poison hemlock grows in a field
Poison hemlock, pictured in a field of green grasses, is a toxic plant commonly mistaken for wild carrot, wild parsnip or wild parsley.

Exposure to poisonous plants may cause skin irritation, rashes, blistering, swelling or other symptoms. Some plants are only poisonous if ingested, and may cause nausea, vomiting, seizures or respiratory failure. In rare cases, these can lead to death. Unknown plants and berries should never be touched, tasted or handled. It is not safe to eat wild plants, berries or other foliage without proper identification as some toxic plants may be mistaken for a non-toxic lookalike. Any plant may cause unexpected symptoms if eaten, including choking. Supervision is important in preventing accidental exposure by children and pets.

Many poisonous plants are not native to the Pacific Northwest. They may be transplants thriving in the Pacific Northwest climate. Learn more about the plants in your area, where you plan to visit and especially, in and around your home. 

Safety Tips: 

  • Familiarize yourself with plants growing in and around your home and any areas your children frequently play.
  • Remove toxic plants from your yard and inside your home. 
  • Supervise children while playing outdoors, hiking, camping and in any new environment.
  • Teach children from a young age not to touch or taste plants unless given by a trusted adult. Some edible plants and berries have toxic lookalikes. 
  • If you suspect a poisoning, don't take a chance. Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.


Mushroom Poisoning & Mushroom Safety

Amanita Mascaria mushrooms on display at the Oregon Mushroom Show
Picking and eating wild mushrooms is dangerous unless you are an experienced mycologist (mushroom expert).

Mushroom poisoning is serious and can make you very sick. Cooking a mushroom does not necessarily make it safe to eat. Many poisonous mushrooms have a non-poisonous look-a-like and it can be very hard to tell the difference between them.

Mushrooms vary by region. If you have recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest from another region of the United States or another country, it is important to learn mushroom identification in your new location. 

Mushroom Safety Tips:

  • Never pick and eat wild mushrooms unless they’ve been identified by a mushroom expert (mycologist).
  • Keep a close eye on kids and pets when exploring the outdoors. Wild mushrooms may look appealing to children due to their bright color and appearance.
  • If you are interested in learning more about wild mushroom identification and habitat in Oregon, visit the Oregon Mycological Society website for information on classes and membership.  

Call the poison center in case of exposure 1-800-222-1222.