As the weather gets nicer, we want to spend more time outdoors. Whether you're going for a hike or just mowing your lawn, there are some plants here in Iowa that you'll want to avoid. That is, unless you want to be miserable.

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, "a number of plants can be harmful to eat, but only a handful cause allergic reactions when we touch them." The best way to avoid these pesky plants is to know exactly what they look like.

Get familiar with the plants listed below, so you can be sure to stay far away from them.

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1. Poison Ivy

poison ivy
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Poison Ivy is probably the most common plant that everyone recognizes as poisonous. "Leaves of three, let it be" is how the saying goes and you definitely will want to let this stuff be. Here are some things to recognize about poison ivy: The leaves are 2-5 inches long, it has three leaflets making a single leaf, and has a brown stem that isn't thorny or fuzzy. Some people are more sensitive to it than others. If you're someone that turns out to be very sensitive to it, you could experience "itching, burning and blisters that develop within 12 to 24 hours after coming in contact with the plant’s oil," according to Also, NEVER burn it. The oil can remain in the smoke and you do NOT want to be breathing that in.

2. Wild Parsnip

Wild Parsnip Plants
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You'll see the bright yellow flowers of wild parsnip from May to July. Notice the lacy looking yellow-green heads, and avoid them. If you get this oil on your skin and are exposed to sunlight, you could experience painful blisters. And the real kicker is that the flowers don't even have to be in bloom for you to catch the oil. They may look pretty, but just remember to admire them from afar.

3. Stinging Nettles

oseup portrait of fresh green leaves of Urtica dioica, the common stinging nettle, is a dioecious, herbaceous, perennial plant.
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You can usually find stinging nettles next to streams in the wooded areas. It can grow anywhere from 6 inches to 6 feet tall, and has a stiff stem where the nettles are positioned. The name of this plant pretty much sums up what it does. If you come in contact with stinging nettles, the plants little, tiny hairs will inject acid into your skin. It's kind of like getting a bunch of little shots. These little stings can result in small bumps. Ouch!

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Don't be miserable this spring and summer! Take note of these poisonous plants in Iowa and stay far, far away.

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[Iowa DNR]

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