The wide range of beautiful flora will leave you thinking there are no poisonous plants in Kansas. While some of these plants are safe to grow, they cause itching and irritation to the skin when touched.

7 Poisonous Plants in Kansas

Others produce beautiful berries that can be poisonous to humans and animals. Here is how to identify these plants and the effects they leave on your body. 

A List of Poisonous Plants You Can Hardly Suspect in Kansas

1. Mother-in-Law Tongue

Mother In Law Tongue

Plant Identification
  • Evergreen sword-like leaves
  • Leaves have white edges
  • Greenish-white flowers
Growing Locations
  • In semi-arid and arid areas
  • Planted indoors
  • Gastrointestinal discomforts
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Contact a health expert
  • Contact a vet

Mother-in-law tongue, also called the snake plant commonly, must be one of the most unsuspected poisonous plants. Most homeowners admire it because of its few growth requirements and the beauty it gives a room, in addition to how it would cleanse the air.

However, this beautiful slow-grower can cause swelling and numbness on the tongue when consumed, so you must keep it away from your adventurous toddlers, due to the poisonous sap that it contains. 

The snake plant is succulent, identified by its sharp, evergreen sword-like leaves that have different stripes on them. Other varieties of mother-in-law tongues have golden-edged and white-edged leaves. The plant produces small greenish-white flowers when it matures, although flowering rarely happens.

When you have a snake plant, remember that they are safe to touch however, very poisonous when consumed. The leaves contain a toxic chemical called saponins, which cause gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition to this, they are also very poisonous to pets when they consume them. 

Besides, the mother-in-law tongue plant’s poisonous leaves filter indoor air by absorbing toxic pollutants like carbon dioxide, xylene, and toluene. Its ability to absorb toxins lessens the possibility of allergies and asthma.

2. Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

Plant Identification
  • Three leaves on a stalk
  • Leaves are green and glossy
  • Young leaves are red
  • Yellow flowers and white berries
Growing Locations
  • Rich, moist soil
  • Along paths
  • Wooded areas
  • Skin rash
  • Skin irritation
  • Blisters 
  • Wash skin with water and soap
  • Apply calamine lotion

Although it is hard to believe that the snake plant is poisonous, you won’t struggle to believe that poison ivy is dangerous. However, identifying this plant can be challenging because of its many look-alikes, including poison sumac

This toxic ivy, a common poisonous plant, grows mainly along the edges of wooded areas, places with moist and rich soil, and along paths. The plant has three leaflets, with the center one growing on a different stem from the other two. The young leaves are red and change color as the plant grows.

The glossy surface of the leaves can cause curiosity for you to feel and smell the oil, but it makes the most dangerous part of this plant. When the ivy grows like a woody vine, it can climb up to 75 feet, although it does create a beautiful and green scenery with the way it grows, but together with this, it has a costly impact on the skin when one gets closer. 

However, some of this toxic ivy plants are able to grow as shrubs or ground cover. In addition to this, you can also identify it with its small yellow flowers that mature to produce little, white berries. 

How it works is that this poisonous ivy is a toxic plant that is prone to produce its intoxicating oil that is called urushiol that causes the skin to itch and develop blisters.

Although the oil is primarily visible in the leaves, it is also available in the stems and roots. This toxic oil can lead to other complications for people with more sensitive skin, as the levels would vary, just as the abundance would. 

If your skin brushes this ivy’s leaves and stems or gets into contact with the roots, you must quickly wash it with water and soap to remove the oil. You should also clean the clothes to avoid transferring the oil to another person, because this can also be possible.

You can prevent worse effects on the blisters by avoiding scratching the area. This prevents the blisters from opening, fastening their drying, and healing. You can reduce the itching by bathing in lukewarm water with colloidal oatmeal preparation or applying calamine lotion on the skin. 

3. Poison Hemlock

Poison Hemlock

Plant Identification
  • Reddish or purple spots and streaks on stems
  • Fern-like leaves
  • Musty odor on crushed leaves
Growing Locations
  • Roadsides
  • Field
  • Slow heartbeat
  • CNS paralysis
  • Death
  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Call the vet if pet ingest it

Poison hemlock, or Conium maculatum, is one of the most toxic plants to avoid. It belongs to the carrot family and has fern-like leaves making it hard to identify. Hemlock grows mainly on roadsides, vacant lots, and fields and is dangerous to humans and even to your pets. 

You can identify poison hemlock with its unique stems that have reddish or purple spots and streaks. Its leaves resemble ferns, with bright green, finely divided foliage. However, these produce a musty odor when they are crushed, which would take the sap out. 

Poison hemlock is a flowering plant that colors the fields with its small, umbrella-shaped clusters of beautiful white flowers at the end of the branches. This plant has high toxin levels; its symptoms appear about 20 minutes after intake, which is a very short time, showing you how the plant’s poison is dense, in short, even touching the plant can make you sick. 

Some effects this plant causes to human consumption are dizziness, slow heartbeat, paralysis of the central nervous system, and muscle paralysis. It also leads to respiratory failure resulting in death.

Remember that you should seek medical attention immediately after ingesting the plant to prevent severe side effects. You should also call your vet if you suspect your livestock feeds on poison hemlock for advice. Also, note that the plant’s stalks contain poison three years after death which means the sap would still be in the plant. 

4. Poison Oak

Poison Oak

Plant Identification
  • Three non-glossy leaflets
  • Leaves are hairy on both sides
  • Fruits that are tan in color
Growing Locations
  • Along paths
  • Wooded areas
  • Skin rash and blisters
  • Respiratory problems when you inhale smoke
  • Wash skin with water and soap
  • Apply aloe vera or baking soda
  • Apply calamine lotion

Another poisonous plant easily confused with poison ivy is the poison oak. Both plants have three leaflets, with the middle growing on a different stalk from the first two. The leaves change and appear green, orange, or reddish depending on the season. 

However, you must remember that this oak is a poisonous one that has the dangerous urushiol, its leaves are not glossy like those of other poisonous plants, in addition to this, the tree, wholly is poisonous from its top to the bottom. This plant’s leaves are also hairy on both sides and produce fruits that are tan in color.

When the plant’s leaves, stem, and root touch your skin, they cause the poison oak rash. Urushiol also sticks on pets and clothes, making it easily transferable to other people. The toxic oak is also one that would produce poisonous smoke when burnt, which can cause adverse effects. This means that you must avoid burning it as a camp fire or any other way, because the way that it fills in the air would even harm your lungs when inhaled the smoke. 

When you touch the plant, wash your skin with water and soap to clean the oil. You can apply calamine lotion to treat the rash or use other commercial products, aloe vera and baking soda, but if the case gets intense, you must seek a medical professional. 

5. Castor Bean 

Castor Bean

Plant Identification
  • Branches form canopy
  • Alternating star-shaped leaves
  • Black, gray, or brown seeds
Growing Locations
  • Subtropical areas
  • Along riverbeds
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shedding of the digestive tract
  • Seek medical advice immediately

Also called Ricinus communis, the castor bean is known to be the most poisonous plant in the world, as well as in the states. It is popular in tropical and subtropical locations and grows along riverbeds, fallow fields, and other areas with well-drained soils. 

Castor bean is an evergreen plant that grows into a shrub or small tree. It produces branches that form a dense canopy and has alternating star-shaped leaves with a glossy or shiny and green on the surface. However, some species have black-purplish, bronze-green or maroon leaves. Its flowers develop to produce a seed capsule that contains black, gray, or brown poisonous seeds

Castor beans contain poisonous substances called ricin that cause fatal gastroenteritis when ingested. It also causes delayed visceral damage, a life-threatening complication. However, the plant is not toxic to the touch because you are less likely to come into contact with its special toxic sap, unless you ingest it.

Some effects of ingesting castor beans are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pains. The seed also causes the cells lining the digestive tract to shed, causing gastrointestinal bleeding, which can result in death. This variation would change with the quantity that one would ingest in, and the more it is subjects, the higher the toxicity gets.

If you suspect ricin poisoning, you should call the doctor immediately. Although there is no remedy for ricin poisoning, the doctor will give medications to reduce the symptoms. 

6. Lily of The Valley

Lily of The Valley

Plant Identification
  • It looks like wild garlic
  • Leaves lack onion odor
  • White bell-shaped flowers
Growing Locations
  • Dense forests
  • Visual color disturbances
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased consciousness
  • Contact a doctor immediately

Lily of the valley, one of the common poisonous plants, resembles wild garlic. You can differentiate the lily of the valley from wild garlic plants through the scent and shape of the leaves and flowers that it would produce, in addition to the length of the shoots.

These flowers are also known as Convallaria majalis, this plant lacks the onion scent that wild garlic has. The leaves have denser nerves, and this is how it is identified. On another note, it also has flowers that are white, bell-shaped, and mature to produce berry-like red fruits. 

Although tasting a small piece of lily is not poisonous, ingesting larger amounts can be dangerous, for both humans and even to pets. The effects of consuming this plant are nausea, vomiting, decreased consciousness, and visual color disturbances. Ensure you seek medical attention immediately for advice. 

7. Nerium Oleander

Nerium Oleander

Plant Identification
  • Thick leathery leaves
  • Evergreen with a clear sup
  • White, pink, or yellow funnel-shaped flowers
Growing Locations
  • Hot areas
  • Coastal regions
  • Gastrointestinal effects
  • Interferes with the sodium-potassium pump of the heart
  • Seek medical attention immediately

Nerium oleander is known for its vibrant flowers and thick leathery leaves, but it is highly poisonous, although it is one that produces of the most beautiful flowers, but the cost on your health is extreme. It is an evergreen shrub and produces white, pink, or yellow funnel-shaped flowers that grow in clusters. It can grow and be found in hot, coastal areas. 

When ingested, Nerium oleander interferes with the sodium-potassium pump of the heart, which is dangerous. The plant also causes gastrointestinal effects, which cause death. Every part of oleander is poisonous and should be avoided. If you accidentally ingest it, contact a medical expert right away. 


Poisonous varieties of plants that are found in the state of Kansas are easily identified by their foliage colors and structures, flowers, smell, and texture. Some tips you will learn from the above article are:

  • Although some green plants produce pretty flowers, they are very toxic when eaten or touched. Since some toxic plants, like the lily, resemble edible plants like wild garlic, ensure you research well before feeding on them.
  • You use smell to distinguish between lily of the valley and wild garlic plants, but beware that some plants’ scents are poisonous.
  • Snake plants are common indoor plants liked by many homeowners but poisonous to humans and pets when ingested.
  • Poisonous plant symptoms are intense and can cause death, so call a doctor immediately for advice.

Even though some poisonous plants have low levels of toxins, ensure you avoid them at all costs. 


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