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"Mystery poison ivy," contact dermatitis rash from house plants

One has to touch poison ivy (or something that has urishiol on it, like a pet, shoe, clothing, tool) to get poison ivy. If you know, for sure, you have not touched poison ivy, or touched something that touched poison ivy, you can know it's something else giving you a rash. I was shocked to find how many people are out there, investigating a mystery rash, usually from the same angle of "I know I didn't touch poison ivy but have the rash," yet there's very little info to help. Plants that definitely did not used to bother me before, propagated them many times, and definitely got sap on my skin, are now dangerous to me.

Nobody knows why sensitivity to previously harmless exposure to certain plants can suddenly result in dermatitis. Sensitivity to urishiol, (the irritating oil on poison ivy, oak, sumac,) and the plants below can be transient.

I'm suddenly susceptible to getting this rash from Aroids, heart-leaf Philodendron vines in particular. Test exposure confirms, that's (one of the plants) giving me a rash. A long lasting rash that's itchy enough to ruin sleep, scratch like a dog in public, be the foremost thought on your mind for about 8-10 days, and I don't know if some minor scarring is from too much scratching or would have happened anyway at what seemed to be the most exposed spots. Syngonium is another one. Rudimentary investigation leads to the word alkaloid. It's thought these plants have irritating alkaloids.

Interesting because Tradescantia zebrina and Callisia repens are also giving me a rash, and also contain alkaloids, though they are in the Commelina family. I'm suspicious of T. pallida also, but done experimenting. I've scratched enough.

Now also giving me a rash is anything with latex...
such as some common house plants: Ficus (fig, rubber tree)
Euphorbia (yard spurges and many potted succulents)
Plumeria (Frangipani, the Hawaiian lei flowers)
Asclepias (milkweeds)
Ipomoea (morning glory, moonflower vine, sweet potato vine)

Here's a past of the list I've compiled. Sorry, the formatting of a 3-column spreadsheet doesn't paste, but happy to email it to anyone who wants it.

The columns are:
Botanical name, common name if known, toxic detail. It's a little awkward because IDK if some of these are just particular species, or if any species of the genera listed would likely be toxic to those sensitive.

Acalypha hispida Chenille Plant causes skin and gastrointestinal inflammation
Agave Agave oxalates
Aloe nobilis Gold Toothed Aloe possible dermatitis
Amaryllis Amaryllis alkaloid
Asclepias milkweeds, butterfly weeds latex sap
Asparagus densiflorous Sprengeri Sprengeri Fern possible dermatitis
Asparagus setaceus plumosus Asparagus Fern dermatitis
Caladium Caladium oxalates
Calla Calla oxalates
Carissa latex
Castilla latex
Catharanthus latex
Celandine latex
Ceropegia latex
Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum may give dermatitis
Codiaeum variegatum Croton many species contain croton oil, a strong purgative which causes gastroenteritis
Colocasia Elephant ear oxalates
Convallaria majalis Lily-of-the-Valley glycosides
Crinum Crinum alkaloid
Cyclamen persicum Cyclamen a case of poisoning was reported in 1798
Cyperus alternifolius Umbrella Plant toxic
Dieffenbachia Seguine Dumbcane oxalates
Epipremnum Pothos oxalates
Euphorbia Crown of Thorns, Poinsettia toxic, latex sap
Euphorbia latex
Ficus Creeping Fig, weeping fig, rubber tree possible contact dermatitis via casual contact and/or latex sap
Fockea latex
Glechoma hederacea Creeping Charlie, Ground Ivy toxic
Hedera helix English Ivy toxic
Helleborus niger Christmas Rose glycosides
Hoodia latex
Hoya latex
Huemanthus Blood lily alkaloid
Huernia latex
Hydrangea Hydrangea cyanogenetic glycoside
Lactuca latex
Lantana Lantana berries of some species toxic
Maclura latex
Mammillaria latex
Mandevilla latex
Manilkara latex
Mimosa pudica Sensitive Plant possibly toxic
Monstera deliciosa Split Leaf Philodendron oxalates
Morus latex
Narcissus Narcissus alkaloid lycorin
Nerine Nerine alkaloid
Nerium Oleander Oleander glycosides
Pachypodium latex
Papaver latex
Parthenocissus quinquefolia Boston Ivy oxalates
Persea americana Avocado possibly toxic
Philodendron hastatum various cultivars oxalates
Philodendron scandens & various synonyms Heartleaf Philodendron oxalates
Plumeria/Frangipani latex
Poinciana gilliesii Bird-of-Paradise toxic
Polygonatum Jack-in-the-pulpit oxalates
Primula Primrose possible dermatitis
Rheum rhaponticum Rhubarb oxalates
Rhododendron occidentale Azalea toxic
Rhubarb Rhubarb oxalates
Sansevieria Snake plant, mother-in-law's tongue oxalates
Scindapsis Devil's ivy, Pothos oxalates
Solanum Bittersweet nightshade, Jerusalem Cherry solanine
Sonchus latex
Spathiphyllum peace lily oxalates
Stapelia latex
Stephanotis latex
Syngonium podophyllum Arrowhead Plant oxalates
Tabernaemontana latex
Taraxacum latex
Toxicodendron Poison ivy, oak, sumac urishiol
Tradescantia Wandering Jew, Purple Heart, Rhoeo spathacea oxalates
Wrightia latex

Have you ever gotten a rash from a house plant? From gardening outside but you KNOW there's no poison ivy?

I wanted to both raise awareness for those who would just prefer to avoid the sap of these plants instead of finding out if they can get a rash, and to help those investigating 'mystery poison ivy.' I would consider these plants at the top of a list to keep away from kids (plants to keep away from particular pets are well documented, and not an issue I have.)

I'm not giving up any of these plants but definitely handling with caution when sap is exposed. By that I mean I intend to make sure I don't get any sap on my skin (which I found this week, is easier said than done.) I don't unknowingly trim or cut plants, so this shouldn't be too difficult, but might involve rubber gloves. As far as I can tell, once the sap dries, it's harmless. Once the site where a cut was made has healed over, it's harmless. Confirmation/disagreement?

Couldn't find any reference to anyone getting dermatitis from casually touching the leaves of any 'house plants,' with the possible exception of some of the Ficus, F. benjamina in particular. No proof in the encountered anecdotes about 100% certainty the exposure was only casual. It seems a leaf could be bent enough to break open and expose sap, but 'fold' back to a normal looking position, making the rash seem to come from casual contact when there was sap involved, IDK. Am I willing to experiment - more? Nooooo way!

Apparently, even though I know it can give me a rash, I still most accidentally brushed against a cut vine while taking cuttings Tuesday (even though I kept washing to halfway up my elbow.) A red, itchy patch showed up Thursday, almost by my elbow. By now, it's raised, angry, blistered.

Philodendron rash:

Comments (43)

  • asleep_in_the_garden
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That doesn't look like much fun,Purp...and what a list too!
    If you had to gear up in a hazmat suit,it would be worth it..?

    Last time I reacted like that,it was from the foliage of a mango seedling I'd grown from seed.

    Spose you could add Mangifera indica to your list if ya want.

    Mango itch is the same pain in the butt as poison ivy,and before I was aware of this I found out the hard way.

    Hope that clears up soon for you.

    Hang in there! :)

  • tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That was a lot of work! Thanks for your efforts.

    I was just conversing via email with Laura from VA about this yesterday. It happens to me every time I get lazy after working on a ficus and don't carefully/ thoroughly/ completely (those adverbs courtesy of the department of redundancy department) wash the sap off my hands. A lot of times I'll be cutting a few leaves in half to slow down a certain branch, and I won't pay close enough attention to whether or not I get sapped. For that, I always pay. I get it from mulberry bonsai too. Worst for me is euphorbias. I'll get a blister followed by something like a wart .... and those last a long time - sometimes months. I don't like white stuff from plants at all.


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    I did exactly this last Sunday 6-26-11. I am not totally allergic to the planet but have some issues with cats, chilis etc. but mostly if touching sensitive skin under eye. Last week a water leak in the old converted Victorian home I live in had us all trying to figure it out with the manager. They opend back cellar door blocked by fig tree. Being the efficient woman that I am, got out my saw and hacked off some branches. Because they didnt want us to use water right then and a nice morning I walked downtown with no shower and in sunlight! I work at a grocery store so on Monday when I showed a slight red spot on my wrist I thought it was a chili that ran away from me as I was putting bagging it. (Amazes me still that some customers roll all their unbagged veggies down the belt after their unbagged oozing meat packages! Yes we clean the belts but that is lazy to me!) Anyway, last night, Wednesday, I noticed more small red spots around other areas of my left wrist and forearm. The larger red spot abut an inch wide and 2 inches long was now blistering. Wemt to store and got calamine lotion, hydrocortizone and large bandages. (I can't be seen with this at store bagging groceries!) Covering it with bandaids makes it feel better for some reason too. Maybe blocking the air and just touching hurts somewhat. The larger one is having more pain. I looked up pictures someone had of tree pruners getting fig contact rashes and it looked almost as bad as poison ivy. I guess not much on internet as more factors need to be in place like what happened to me, not washing the UNSEEN sap, and being in sunlight and probably one more thing to go on my list for sensitivities. I am sensitive to milky plants but only get a slight welt that goes away in a day. Learned my lesson, gloves and long shirts before I touch anything!
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  • brodyjames_gw
    8 years ago
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    I discovered that adult onset allergies is not uncommon. Growing up, I never had ANYTHING! Now, it's dogs, dust mites, tree pollen....

    Geraniums give me migraines and Yarrow (Achillea) gives me a rash when I handle it. I don't like either plant, so I'm ok with those two being on my watch list. As for anything else, I guess it will be trial by error. So far, the much maligned euphorbias have never given me any trouble.


  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Thanks for the inputs!

    Haz-mat suit - LOL!

    Al, I've quit picking figs, and eating them, though the last may be unnecessary caution. (frown!)

    Nancy, I'm assuming since I used to pick figs with no ill effects, and have handled countless Asclepias leaves (milkweed) picked from plants with bare hands to feed to monarch caterpillars, and remember clearly thinking how interesting the white stuff in poppy plants is (after touching it,) that I didn't used to be sensitive either. It may be that not all latex is equal in its' effects, IDK. As a person w/o a huge technical plant vocabulary, it's not easy to find stuff to read that doesn't blow over my head. Hope you continue to remain rash-free!!

    What shocked me when I started researching latex is the number of genera that have it. That seems to be the sap substance that has the highest number of people sensitive to it. It pervades all areas of plants, from weeds to garden perennials, trees, and common, traditional house plants (for those who live in temperate regions.)

    I was taking cuttings of heart-leaf Philo again yesterday. Hoping I didn't make the same mistake again.

    Gold Bond medicated ointment - good stuff for an itchy rash, BTW.

    It would probably not occur to anyone who doesn't get a rash to investigate what plants might give them one, but sending this info out to the cosmos to help those searching for answers after getting one. Hope it helps anyone to which this applies to diagnose their mystery contact dermatitis the first time. For years, I would periodically get 'mysterious PI' and it never occurred to me to look inward, at my house plants. I'd always attributed it to somehow touching a dead PI leaf that must have blown into my yard, or that one of the 'weeds' I'd pulled was to blame, or that I'd petted a dog that had urishiol on its' fur.

    I definitely don't have all of the answers, but washing after getting any plant sap on your skin can never hurt!

    - Tiffany

    Plumeria leaf... I bent it until the veins snapped, then let go. It popped back to its' previous appearance, and the latex came out anyway. This is how I think people are getting exposed when around F. benjamina, but who knows?

    If you see white, have fright!

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Something else to consider is the constant barrage our bodies receive from household products we consider benign. Soaps, shampoos, detergents, scents, cleaning products, laundry softeners, and most of the materials used to manufacture our furniture, carpets, paints, and more are pretty toxic to me. I think that there are millions of humans and pets who have been made supersensitive by everyday items.

    Most are composed of chemicals that can cause some real problems for sensitive individuals. And when you think that we are always surrounded by these products without ever giving our defense systems a break, it should come as no surprise that we have sudden reactions.

    Our home has been made as chemical free as is possible by what we purchase to use anywhere in the kitchen, bath, or anywhere else in the home. I have to be careful about the offgassing from paints and furnishings. I've learned to go to the grocery later in the day to allow time for pesticides to disperse. I slip a produce bag over my hand before touching any fruits or veggies.

    If I'm not careful, I can end up in trouble. But by clearing our household of as many possible offenders as possible (and finding substitutes), I don't have to worry about it.

    My point in all of this is that are bodies reach a maximum threshold of tolerance when confronted by nonstop assault. When the tipping point comes, a sensitive person might react in unexpected ways. Sudden allergic reactions, fatigue, hyperactivity, sweating, confusion, nausea, hives, and other symptoms are common but often blamed on something else.

    This post was edited by rhizo_1 on Tue, Oct 7, 14 at 13:12

  • subtropix
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I didn't use to suffer from pollen season, now I the tree pollen in May drives me crazy! I did not use to be allergic to poison ivy, but not I am, and it seems all around me. (There have been numerous studies of plants including poison ivy becoming more toxic due to increased CO2 concentrations, which also helps them grow faster.)

    I used to be allergic to cats, but not for years now. Our allergic responses change over time. So too, getting back to the poison ivy, your system may go from non-allergic to allergic based on repeated exposure to this weed. When I do get a poison ivy reaction, I avoid mangos big time (believe it or not, they are closely related botanically and the toxic chemical is identical!) Otherwise, I can eat mangos safely.

    I have heard about heightened chemical sensitivity. Isn't that related to excessive, prolonged exposure to chemicals and the collapse of the immunal response? I do not think I practice "organic" gardening, but do not use pesticides aside from insecticidal soaps.

    Have really not have had any reaction with any cultivated plant (and I have hundreds, both hardy and tropical species...many highly poisonous, such as oleander). Eurphoria is probably best to avoid, but have not had a reaction to even their sap on my skin. Aside from the dreaded ivy, the only plant I have grown that would cause contact dermatitis is spiny leaves of the tropical genus Pandanus. Maybe just stupid luck!

  • hacking_eden
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It's the calcium oxylate, all aroids have it, most notoriously dieffenbachia, and so do the family commellinaceae as well as many other plants. The oxylate crystals cause microscopic tears that cause itching and swelling (ever worked with fiberglass insulation?), they can also introduce a variety other compounds that cause additional irritation. This reaction is known in the floral industry as tulip fingers or daffodil itch.
    The latex allergy is a separate issue although the oxylate could make it worse.
    Alkaloids are a very diverse group of organic compounds, anything ending in "ine" is an alkaloid (caffeine, nicotine, morphine, etc) so I think their presence is coincidental, and most are harmless unless the skin is already torn open by oxylate.
    More info on this here :

    I'm immune to every plant toxin I've encountered, poison ivy included, but I hope this helps the rest of you find some relief.

  • woodnative
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Very good thread!!! When I worked in a commercial greenhouse decades ago there was a woman that was very sensitive to the Philodendrons and Pothos and she could not propagate them where others were fine. Personally I developed nasty "burns" about three times in as many years a day or two after being in the yard....the last time particularly nasty with burned streaks on legs and arms. I finaly pinned it down to Common fig...the latex (I don't know if other Ficus are equal now but I will not test them). With this it is a photodermatitis in that you need to get the latex on you and then be in the sun for a while to "activate" it. I got rid of the fig......

  • teengardener1888
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I pull poison Ivy by hand in my yard yet I get very itchy over mandevilla....

  • zzackey
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Oyster plants, Rheo something will give some people rashes.

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    TY for the additional comments!

    As far as I can tell, if you're sensitive to it, latex is latex. If that's not the case, I hope someone with more info about it will come by and share it. It's in all of the plants I listed above that say latex after them. Not everyone who IS sensitive has the same reaction, or degree of reaction. Sensitivities can be transient throughout a person's lifetime. Level of exposure is a hypothesis with teeth regarding becoming sensitive, but doesn't account for incidences of disappearing sensitivity.

    As of yesterday, I pronounced my rash completely gone. 9-10 days is a lot of misery, though only about 5 of them were unbearable.

    Woodnative, I did read some stuff about photodermatitis about a year ago but had totally forgotten until you said that. A very interesting twist on the whole subject!

    Edited - read through before clicking submit!

    This post was edited by purpleinopp on Thu, Oct 16, 14 at 11:01

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Found a helpful chart of toxicity.

  • Melissa Petty
    7 years ago

    Thank you so much for taking the time to proving so much information. Only someone who has had this burning rash can understand what is means to know there are others out there and I am not crazy. I went to an Urgent Care and my family doctor after my first outbreak. They all looked at me like I was crazy and said they had NEVER heard of philodendron poisoning. I had so many burns the 1st time I was ill for days before I put it all together. I realized the burns must be from a new allergy or reaction to philodendron. I have gardened in Florida in my bare feet and hands for 35 years with no ill effects. The home I just purchased was blanketed in philodendron and other like plants. I had been clearing the property for months before my 1st reaction. It took me a few more days to realize I was burning what I was clearing! I believe that caused my flu like symptoms to accompany my burning skin. I am willing to test that theory. I just have opted compost what I clear while covered from head to toe!

    BTW I think my doctor still does not believe me!

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Sooo sorry you also got this rash. It's every bit as miserable as poison ivy! Since I stopped letting any sap from house plants get on my skin, I've had no more mystery PI. You are NOT alone! Tell your doctor there are oxalate aklaloids in Philodendrons... whatever that means. I do suspect exposure to sun after exposure to sap may be what activates this reaction, but never did find any specific info about that, that I could understand.

    I agree, composting sounds like a much better plan than burning, but not sure oxalate (crystals?) can be rendered airborne in smoke like the urishiol in PI, but just in case... and a big pile'o'compost is a super-wonderful thing!

    Good luck avoiding having this happen again, now that you know.

  • dancinsue
    6 years ago

    Oyster Plant, Moses in the Cradle or Rhoeo spathacea

    I can not handle this plant, even very carefully without getting a poison ivy rash and it grows everywhere in my garden. If there are any way to rid myself of this plant and educate people how invasive it is in S. Florida, I would like to know. Best method now is long pants, long sleeves and gloves with a trash can to be filled.

    Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL thanked dancinsue
  • Mentha (East TN, Zone 6B-7A)
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I'm itching just reading this. I get rashes all the time from houseplants. I found Aveno lavender lotion, either baby lotion of the one for adults helps. I used to get rashes between my fingers all the time and when I worked in dog grooming I would have blisters all over my hands. The Aveno was the only thing that helped, every other lotion I had tried for sensitive skin just made things worse. I do have disposable gloves, but most of the time I forget to put them on. I'm also allergic to latex so I have to get the powdered gloves.

    I forgot to add that I can walk into a craft store and touch fabric and my hands will swell up, blister, and itch like a mama cow within seconds. I haven't figured out if it's the dyes or the fabric I'm allergic to.

    Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL thanked Mentha (East TN, Zone 6B-7A)
  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Sue, so sorry! TY for sharing your story. Preventing contact with skin should prevent getting a rash, though I know that's easier said than done.

    Sounds like you need to dig up the roots too. Small plants such as these should be very easy to dig up. I'd be unwilling to let that organic matter go, especially considering the score to be settled. It would be composted so I could least get some benefit from the unpleasant experience. Or, you could sell it, though that would require more handling than it's worth in your situation. You could put an ad "free oyster plants, you dig."

    Mentha, TY also for sharing! Relief for accidental exposure is what a lot of people who find this via search will be needing. The worst was when I didn't realize my upper arm brushed against a dripping cut Philodendron vine. That left a scar.

    I have one weak suggestions for you, and glad you asked here! first step to figuring these things out is to compare anecdotes & ask for suggestions. Hope you get some promising ones! Have you considered the sizing/starch?

    I'm glad I can put on latex gloves with no problem (because the others were more expensive) but latex sap is a definite no-no. At least I'm no longer forgetting that if I forget to put on gloves, I MUST go wash right away if I think I even may have contacted suspicious plant sap.

    My take-away is that ones' relationship to latex gloves shouldn't be used as a gauge for whether or not their skin will react to latex sap.

  • tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Ficus & Euphorbs always 'get' me. A drop of sap from E milii once fell on the web of flesh/skin between the base of my left index & middle finger. I "meant" to wash my hands at the first opportunity, but forgot, Consequently, a wart-like growth developed there & remained for several years before I had it removed via liquid N application. With >40 ficus in various stages of development as bonsai, I do a LOT of operations that produce sap from roots and branches. To some degree, I've trained myself to avoid habits more likely to expose me to the sap, but I very often get SOME sap on me when I let my guard down. Like many others, I've found that washing with soap & water immediately after you come in contact with irritating sap is the next best thing to wearing gloves.


    Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL thanked tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
  • lindecker777
    6 years ago

    I trimmed a ivy. Plant that had grown all over a inside porch. I scooped up the clippings and now my forearms have a terrible rash. As soon as I picked up the clippings I actually thought a spider bit me because a itching and then immediate swelling happened. Now it is spots all over both forearms . Been going on for one week. How do I calm it down? Also my stomach is bothering me a great deal since the rash. Thank you for the information on this. I think the plant is the one you refer to most.

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Lindecker, it sounds like you may need medical attention. I'm not a doctor and can't offer any medical advice, only comparison of anecdotes. It's possible you are having a contact dermatitis reaction, or you could have encountered something else, like chiggers. Many plants are referred to casually as ivy. Without knowing the specific plant you trimmed, its' potential to cause the symptoms you described can't be assessed.

  • cathryn54
    5 years ago

    Count me in with ---- Jack in the pulpits! I have 2 different varieties and I wanted to collect the seeds from the one with purple stripes. I reached in among the tangle of large leaves which were at least 3 feet tall, and tied ribbons around the stalks of closed seed pods. During the past several weeks I have also been collecting moss and wearing long sleeves and long pants while doing so. Nevertheless, I noticed yesterday on my right arm down toward the elbow, a cluster of small bumps...and they're spreading a bit also. Now, I know I didn't tough poison ivy and even pointed it out to my husband, so he'd know what to look out for. Then I remembered that Jack in the pulpits are dangerous to eat cuz they have oxalate crystals and I never thought that brushing up against the leaves would cause a rash like this! Now I know! ...and I just realized that this is an old thread. Oh well, It's new to me and now I know what possible other plants can cause me trouble...and down here we have those Asian tiger mosquito's to deal with also, they are out during the day! Long sleeves and DEET are the best protection I can do and in the summer heat!

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    So sorry that happened, Cathryn, but thanks for offering your anecdote. I hope you feel relieved soon!

  • cathryn54
    5 years ago

    Thank you Tiffany, the bumps are half their original size and the itchiness is over. For me, Benadryl helps and if it had worsened, I'd have gone to the doctor. After reading the above postings, I never knew so many plants could cause these reactions. I think someone mentioned that we're more susceptible as we age and I am 58 years young now ;) so I'll be extra mindful and continue wearing long sleeves while "playing in the dirt" gardening.

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Same here! I was beyond shocked to realize some plants I'd had for decades had "turned on me", or, probably more accurately, that my skin had changed. That is why it took so long for me to figure out why I kept getting a rash. Why would touching a plant "today" bother me if it didn't "yesterday?" The why is beyond me, but just knowing that it happens, I can avoid by avoiding contact & washing right away if contact occurs. Sounds like you are doing the same thing. Best luck!

  • albert_135   39.17°N 119.76°W 4695ft.
    5 years ago

    My wife gets a mild rash from lilac.

  • Melanie Mills
    2 years ago

    I have been searching for days for a list like this. My friend has a latex allergy and can't go to work because her employer won't put a sign up asking patrons not to wear latex, under stable during covid-19. I'm hoping people wearing gloves for covid while shopping slows down for her sake and everyone with a latex allergy. She reacts so badly.

    I'm going through my house plants and gardens to get rid of them. Would you be able to send me this list so I can go through it. That is, if you still have it. Here are foods with latex, which makes sense for the mango entry. It can be changed to latex on your list. There might be more that need to be updated or added.

    Thank you,


  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    last year

    Bumping this for reference.

  • tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
    last year

    One of the worst plants I've worked on is Fockea edulis.

    I pruned off about 90% of it's top growth last week. It's a prodigious leaker of very irritating sap that gets very sticky very fast, such that after a few minutes you'll need more than soap and water to remove it from your hands - something like Goo Gone or its equal.


  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    last year

    Interesting plant! When trimming Euphorbias or Ficuses, I keep a spray bottle of water to spritz the cuts. It dilutes the sap enough so that it doesn't stain the plant. I put (ironically) latex gloves on when I'm going to trim a lot. But you are probably already aware of this technique.

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    7 months ago

    'tis the season to get a rash trimming plants... (bump)

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    I'm getting better about not getting a rash in the past few years, even though I still have various Euphorbia plants, Ficus, Philodendron & members of Commelinaceae family. Making an effort to not get plant saps on my skin and remembering to wash my hands immediately if I notice that I have come in contact with sap has helped a lot.

  • Jurassic Park
    6 months ago

    Tiffany, I have lots of toxic, poisonous plants (tropical, subtropical, hardy...). NOTHING remotely compares to the reactions I have experienced when weeding in my yard with some native plant. I know what poison ivy looks like and I am not even sure if the culprit is the dreaded ivy or something else. The ivy is deceptive though as it may be transmitted by the leaves or the roots, or indirectly from gloves. I have read too that poison ivy has been increasing in toxicity and growth rate due to increased CO2 levels There is an over-the-counter product that is available that is highly effective. Tecnu should be applied immediately after potential exposure.

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    It could be any number of things. There is a "name that plant" section here where you can ask the name of your plant so you can find additional info about your skin sensitivity and avoid other similar plants in the future.

    Most people with a houseplant collection or a landscaped yard have toxic plants. Whether or not their skin is sensitive to a reaction varies by person. I think it's good to publicize that other plants besides poison ivy can cause similar or identical rash reactions for some people.

  • Rebecca/N. IN/z6A
    5 months ago

    Thank you for posting Tiffany! I have never been allergic to

    poison ivy but yesterday I was weedingflower beds, trimming back the heinous overgrowth of mulberries, weeds & grapevines coming from my neighbor’s side of the fence & laying mulch. Today, several itchy random hive-like bumps on my forearms and a couple ob the backs of my hands showed up. My boyfriend gets poison ivy if he looks at wrong, so Ive seen poison ivy rash so many times that Impretty sure thats not what I have but who knows if a person can develop a sensitivity to it at any time, like allergies? BTW, for those of you who DO get poison ivy- last summer he got it really bad and got a cortisone shot for the first time and thst started clearing it up right away. He said hes going that route every time now and not wasting time w/ all the OTC stuff- which doesnt really help him much anyways.

  • tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    Even if I wash my hands and arms after working with Euphorbia or Ficus, I often end up with a itching/ burning rash. In some cases the rash morphs to a lighter colored patch at the point where the sap came in contact with the skin, thickening and hardening slightly. These patches can persist for years and tend to be more conspicuous in winter or when the skin becomes dry.


  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    5 months ago

    Rebecca, you're welcome. The plants you mentioned don't sound suspicious to me, but "weeds" could be anything. Could be some kind of bug bites too, from the description.

    I would encourage you to install some kind of barrier to prevent stuff from coming under a fence to your side. Mulch alone is probably not going to do that, depending on what the weeds are.

    So glad the shot works for your BF. Having that thought in my head keeps me from being too paralyzed with fear about being in/around wild areas and able to have fun, like not freaking out when I realize the shade for our campsite is a solid canopy of PI, or going canoeing through a swamp. That last was supposed to be a beautiful river, but the reality was otherwise.

    There are many who believe that repeated exposure can trigger sensitivities. I'm not qualified to provide that kind of info, but it seems like that is what happened with me and some of my houseplants that I used to trim with no problems.

    Al, I don't wait for anything if I get sap on me. I stop, drop, and roll, no wait, that's for something else. For sap, I stop and wash immediately. Like Metallica said, "and nothing else matters," until I get it off.

  • Seren_it_tea
    4 months ago

    I too am EXTREMELY SENSITIVE to poison ivy and recently broke out in a similar rash after being careless while propagating my all time favorite plant, the philodendron micans. I also suspected that had to be it so I took a fresh cutting and dabbed the sap several times in my arm and didn't wash off for a few hours. Somewhere between 12 & 24 hours later, I started feeling that familiar itch and watched as my test patch gradually spread out the size of a dime and rose up with the little tiny bubble pattern I'm used to seeing with poison ivy rash. THIS SUCKS! I'm in the middle of battling it right now and in my research found this helpful article. I also read another helpful tip that said the sap from these plants can somehow penetrate through standard medical gloves so thicker gardening type gloves should be used when propagating and caution should also be taken when refreshing propagation water. I plant to purchase some thick, SOLID rubber gloves that can easily be thoroughly washed. NOT those gardening gloves that have a breathable section at the back of the hand and wrists! You should also clean the tools you use and the work area. Rubbing alcohol AT LEAST 70% grade is known to be effective for cleaning tools that have come in contact with poison ivy so I plan on implementing that. As well as never shortcutting again by taking rushed cuttings and not doing the basics like laying out a protective mat and immediately washing my hands afterwards. I lazily let my NUMEROUS cuttings drop to the floor (CARPET!) and I know I didn't wash my hands right away like I normally do. A couple hours later I laid on this floor in a tank top and got a mild rash a day later across my upper back and shoulder area as well as my ear lobes which I believe is from handling my earbuds right after propagating my favorite plant. PLEASE MAKE MY PAIN WORTH IT AND LET THIS BE A LESSON TO YOU... PUH-LEAZE!

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    That sounds miserable, so sorry. I have had the same Philodendron rash. I hope your itching goes away soon. Calamine lotion helps a lot when I get this. And cortisone ointment.

    I shared my stories for the same reason, to hopefully help prevent others from having at least as many of the same miserable experiences. It kept happening to me and I really thought I had not been around any poison ivy but I didn't know any plant except poison ivy could cause a rash. Then I realized it HAD to be something else.

  • BlueberryBundtcake - 6a/MA
    4 months ago

    Rubber and latex gloves may be fine for latex saps, but they are a poor choice for poison ivy/urishol. The oil can penetrate rubber and latex. You want vinyl for poison ivy; I think nitrile is also okay, but vinyl is my choice. I just go with the desposible type, then I don't have to clean them. Cotton or leather is better than latex/rubber for poison ivy (just requires washing).

    I wash my hands thoroughly after contacting saps, and most fuzzy leaves will give me issues (lamb's ear is generally okay, woolly thyme seems to be okay, mint is okay ... other fuzzy plants are not). Have to wash up immediately after tomato harvesting ... fuzzy and residues.

    I also have issues with fuzzy wools (pea coats, yarns that aren't either superwash or merino ... and those are borderline, you get the idea); a sheep is actually less of an issue, so I don't think it's the lanolin. I choose cotton, alpaca, and such mostly for my crochet. Vasoline helps if I encounter fuzzy wool garments while shopping.

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Tomato leaves irritate me too. It's good to identify what is causing discomfort so it can be avoided. Best luck!

  • Beth S.
    2 months ago

    Thank goodness I found this! It makes so much sense now, why I've had rashes on my arms and legs for months!

    Thank you so much for making this list! I have so many of these plants; syngonium, philodendron, morning glory, wondering jew, etc.

    I have also just developed these allergies. It started when I realized I'm allergic to lanolin!

    So, anyone having reactions may want to avoid lotions, creams, and soaps containing lanolin! Which is super difficult! But, possible.

    Thanks again for this list!!

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thank you for your contribution, Beth. I hope you can remain rash-free now. :)