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"Itchy Rash Plants"

Weeds Causing Skin Rashes


"Giant" ragweed is no misnomer, as this picture illustrates.

David Beaulieu

The weeds I call the "itchy rash plants" are the plant kingdom's answer to yellow jackets, mosquitoes and the like. How so? Well, as if it weren't bad enough that you have to watch out for the burning sting that yellow jackets can inflict while you're going about your business in the yard, there's a weed (stinging nettles) that can also "burn" you and cause itching. And while those who fail to practice mosquito control are doomed to suffer itchy stings from the bloodsuckers of the air, we all know the skin rashes caused by poison ivy are no picnic, either.

What you may not know is that you can also come down with an itchy rash from contact with weeds more often associated with hay fever (the ragweeds).

Yes, there's a skin rash just waiting to happen when you step out into your yard. So what's a body to do? Learn to identify the itchy rash plants, so you can eradicate them, or at least avoid them! The resources below will help you do just that, providing information on the itchy rash plants and pictures to identify them. It's easier to win the battle against itchy rash plants than stinging insects, in one sense: the itchy rash plants don't move!

Itchy Rash Plants That Burn: Stinging Nettles

Stinging nettles can't swoop in on you and deliver a burning sting, as yellow jackets can. But if you accidentally run through a patch of these itchy rash plants in short pants, your legs will feel a bit like a swarm of tiny yellow jackets just attacked your unsuspecting appendages. Learn how to identify stinging nettles by clicking on the link below:

Stinging Nettles

Classic Itchy Rash Plants: Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac

Do you depend on the rhyme, "Leaves of 3, let them be!" to identify poison ivy and poison oak? You shouldn't, because these itchy rash plants are far from being the only weeds with three leaves. Moreover, the rhyme is quite useless for poison sumac identification. So instead of relying on rhymes, consult the following resources and get serious with your identification efforts:

Lesser-Known Itchy Rash Plants: Common Ragweed and Giant Ragweed

You're not still blaming your fall allergies on goldenrod plants, are you? It's widely recognized now that the ragweeds are the worst culprits behind hay fever in the autumn. What's not so widely known is that the ragweeds can also cause skin rashes. Armed with that information, you're probably wondering, "OK, what does ragweed look like?"

Learn more about these itchy rash plants in the following articles:

Or if you'd prefer photos, please see pictures of ragweed.

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