Poisonous weeds/plants common to PNW

Asked November 7, 2014, 9:42 PM EST

I am childcare provider in Benton County. This summer a friend came over to visit and informed me I had poison hemlock growing in my garden. I had no idea!! In addition to daycare children I also have two little boys of my own and my heart almost stopped when I realized what could have happened because I had no idea what that plant was. Though I have researched on the internet, there does not seem to be any comprehensive chart or guide that lists and identifies these plants/weeds. Is there any publication or pamphlet etc that I could get that would help? I want to make sure that I know these plants are not in my yard as a potential threat to my children and those I care for.

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

Hello! I found a couple of references for you with a listings of toxic plants. There are quite a lot of them and you may not know what many of them look like. The first website provides a list from the Poison Center of the Oregon Health Science University. It also references a Cornell University site that shows photos of many of the plants that you can go to so that you can look up photos of the plants listed. http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/ This list is focused on plants toxic to animals but many of those are also toxic to humans. You can also google the individual common names of the plants listed to find photos of each plant. Note that some of the plants listed are plants native to Oregon such as the Hemlock plant you had in your yard but others are landscape plants that could have been planted by previous owners of your property or by your neighbors or even you.


The next website is from an Oregon State extension publication. It also has an extensive listing with dots in front of particularly toxic plants. It also gives a list of plants that can cause skin irritation. Many plants appear on both websites’ lists. Again you can google plant names that are not familiar to you.


The Extension office has a Master Gardener Desk that can work with you to identify plants on your property. You can bring in samples and/or photos to identify them. If a plant has already been ingested however, the place to contact is the Regional Poison Center (1 800 222-1222) or 911 for help.