Poisonous And Prickly Plants To Avoid When Hiking In The Outback FEATURE


Hiking in the Outback is a fun and fulfilling activity to do. It’s a great physical exercise and also a way to connect with nature. These hikes can be as simple as an afternoon walk through a park in the city or a day-long outing at a nearby river, lake or woods. You can even bring your kids with you. It’s an activity that every member of the family can enjoy.

But, you have to be careful and avoid any poisonous or prickly plants you and the kids may encounter. This is especially true for kids because their curiosity can sometimes get them in trouble. So before you go hiking, take a look at this list of poisonous and prickly plants you must avoid to prevent any mishap during your nature adventure.


The Belladonna, otherwise known as Deadly Nightshade, is one of the most toxic plants found in the Outback. Ingestion of the berries of Deadly Nightshade can cause psychiatric disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and cardiovascular diseases. The symptoms of Deadly Nightshade poisoning include blurred vision, tachycardia, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rashes and severe dry mouth and throat, to name a few.


When your skin comes in contact with Milky Mangrove, it can cause irritation and rapid blistering. Slight contact with eyes can cause temporary blindness, too. Milky Mangrove is commonly found in New South Wales along the northern coastline around Western Australia.


Brugmansia, or more commonly known as Angel’s Trumpets, is also another poisonous plant. Virtually all parts of the Angel’s Trumpets are toxic, especially the leaves and seeds. It’s known to cause confusion, paralysis of smooth muscles, dry mouth, tachycardia, diarrhoea, visual and auditory hallucinations, mydriasis, migraine headaches and even death. Angel’s Trumpets can induce a powerful trance with violent and unpleasant effects and at times, temporary insanity.


Oleander is also another toxic plant you need to avoid. Ingestion is known to cause nausea and vomiting, excess salivation, abdominal pain, diarrhoea that may contain blood, irregular heart rate, drowsiness, tremors or shaking of the muscles, seizures, collapse and even death. Its sap is known to cause skin irritations, severe eye inflammation and irritation and other allergic reactions.


The Sticky Weed’s pollen is an allergenic known to cause asthma (as the name suggests), conjunctivitis and rhinitis. It can often be found in rock crevices and walls.


When your eyes, nose or mouth comes into contact with the saps of Spurges, it is known to cause extremely painful inflammation. If it’s not treated right away, it can cause permanent blindness. When they’re cut, they produce vapours that can irritate the eyes and throat even if you’re metres away.


The Nettle Family has stinging plant hairs that cause a painful rash even with the slightest contact.


The Rhus is a large shrub or tree that can grow up to 8 metres tall and is somewhat similar to a sumac tree. Most people are very allergic to all parts of the Rhus. It’s classified as a noxious weed, so avoid contact at all costs.

These are some of the most common poisonous or prickly plants you’ll encounter when hiking in the Outback. It’s imperative you know what they look like. If you must, print a photo of each of these plants and bring the photos with you. This way, when you encounter plants on the way, you can tell if they’re safe or not.


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Kimberly Powell

Kimberly loves camping, cooking, travelling and animals. She's turned her hand to writing to share her experience.