The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.
Q: What common poisonous plants should I avoid while camping and hiking this summer?
A: Poison ivy is a fairly common plant that everyone should learn to recognize. You may have heard the phrase, “Leaves of three – let it be,” referring to poison ivy. The oils on its leaves can cause an itchy rash.
While poison ivy is native to Minnesota, there is a non-native invasive plant called wild parsnip that can cause painful burns. If you get the sap of wild parsnip on your skin, and your skin is then exposed to sunlight, this can cause a chemical burn. Wild parsnip has small yellow flowers that grow in flat-topped clusters. Keep an eye out for wild parsnip along roadsides, trails and stream banks.
You can take some simple steps to avoid exposure to hazardous plants while camping and hiking:
Laura Van Riper, DNR terrestrial invasive species coordinator