5 Plants That Cause Rashes

When you’re out enjoying a stroll through a meadow or forest, it’s important to make sure you know how to identify and avoid common plants that cause rashes in your local region. Some plants can cause a couple of days or weeks of itchy skin, while others can cause more serious skin reactions. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss five of the most common rash-causing plants, describe how to identify them, and what skin reactions typically happen.

1. Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)

A member of the Anacardiaceae that includes sumac plants, mangos, cashews, and pistachios, poison ivy, also commonly called Eastern poison ivy, is a rash-causing vine commonly found across North America and parts of East Asia.

2. Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)

A tall herbaceous plant in the carrot family (Apiaceae), giant hogweed causes significant rashes from its poisonous sap. Native to the Caucasus region of Europe and Central Asia, giant hogweed is now considered an invasive species in North America.

3. Poodle-Dog Bush (Eriodictyon parryi)

A perhaps lesser known of the plants that cause rashes, poodle-dog bush (Eriodictyon parryi) is a native plant to the arid regions of California. It commonly grows along disturbed areas such as trails and in areas recently burned by wildfires (plants that do this are known as fire followers).

4. Cashew Tree (Anacardium occidentale)

You may be surprised to learn that the cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is closely related to poison ivy. Like poison ivy, the cashew tree is in the Anacardiaceae family and contains the rash-causing chemical, urushiol.