Plants to Avoid While Hiking

Enjoy the Beautiful Trails of Virgin Islands National Park
“Look But Don’t Touch!”
Christmas Bush or Comocladia dodonaea
Christmas Bush or Comocladia dodonaea

NPS Photo

Christmas Bush A small shrub that is found in open canopies and along trails. It has dark green leaves that can have a reddish hue. It resembles holly.
Symptoms: Burning, itching skin, swelling, irritation and rash that can last up to several weeks.
Remedy: Possible use of anti-itch creams or ointments.
Acacia retusa or Catch and Keep
Catch & Keep or Acacia retusa

NPS Image

Catch & Keep or Acacia retusa A common weed that forms dense thickets of vine-like vegetation. It is found throughout the island. Covered in hundreds of hooked spines, catch and keep is aptly named for its ability to hook into and hold anything.
Symptoms: Barbed spines can penetrate skin causing dozens of cuts, irritation, redness, swelling and infection.
Remedy: Wash wounds, apply antibiotic ointment or cream.
Hippomane mancinella_Death apple
Manchineel or Death Apple Tree

NPS Photo

Manchineel or Death Apple Tree (extremely toxic) Found near and on coastal beaches, has shiny heart- shaped leaves with yellow veins. Ingestion of the small green apple- like fruit can cause Death!
Symptoms: Severe burning and blistering of the skin, temporary blindness.
Remedy: Wash with soap and water; if severe reaction, seek medical treatment.
Opuntia rubescens or Prickly Pear
Opuntia rubescens or Prickly Pear

NPS Photo

Jump-Up-Cactus or Prickly Pear Common in dry forests, is covered by dozens of long, sharp, barbed spines and grows in dense low- growing clumps. Spines easily penetrate clothing and can become imbedded in skin.
Symptoms: Localized pain, inflammation, irritation and rash.
Remedy: Remove spines carefully to alleviate pain.
Euphorbia tirucalli or Milk Bush
Pencil Euphorbia or Milk Bush

NPS Photo

Pencil Euphorbia or Milk Bush (extremely toxic) A small shrub-like tree used as an ornamental plant. Distinguished by hundreds of bright green pencil-thin cylindrical branches, it secretes a milky sap when cut or damaged.
Symptoms: Skin irritation, severe rash and blisters, blindness if it gets in the eyes.
Remedy: Wash affected area immediately with soap and water. Seek immediate medical attention for eye or mouth exposure.
Abrus precatorius_Jumbie Bean Vine
Abrus precatorius  or Jumbie Bean Vine

NPS Photo

Jumbie Bean, Crab's Eye or Rosary (extremely toxic) A slender vine commonly found in moist, well- drained wooded areas, adjacent to clearings or disturbed areas and along roadsides. The bright red seeds have been used to make jewelry and percussion instruments.
Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, convulsions, liver failure, death.
Remedy: If ingested seek medical attention immediately.
Acacia tortuosa_Casha Tree
Casha or Acacia tortuosa tree

NPS Photo

Casha or Acacia toruosa tree Found in drier areas along the coastline, adjacent to trails or on hillsides. These common trees can reach heights of 30 feet and have dozens of spines along the branches.
Symptoms: Deep puncture wounds, redness, painful swelling, localized pain and infection.
Remedy: If infection develops seek medical attention.
Bromelia penguin or  False Pinapple
Bromelia penguin or  False Pinapple

NPS Photo

Pinguin or False Pineapple Introduced to the Virgin Islands during the plantation era to serve as a natural fence line. It forms dense and impenetrable patches and thickets and has long, slender, bright green leaves with spiny edges and tips. Typically found adjacent to ruins or historic structures and along open trails.
Symptoms: Scratches, cuts and shallow puncture wounds.
Remedy: Wash wounds, apply antibiotic ointment or cream.
Jimson Weed, Prickly Burr or Deadly Nightshade (extremely toxic) These herbaceous, poisonous plants are found along roadsides and disturbed areas. Distinguished by their umbrella-shaped flowers and round prickly seed capsules they can grow to a height of five feet, preferring to grow in full sunlight.
Symptoms: Delirium, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, amnesia and even Death!
Remedy: Seek immediate medical attention.
To prevent contact with hazardous plants, please stay on trails and roadways.
In case of EMERGENCY DIAL 911
From Cell Phone DIAL (340) 776-9110

Down load the Plants to Avoid brochure for future reference.

Last updated: April 30, 2015

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1300 Cruz Bay Creek
St. John, VI 00830


340 776-6201
Headquarters/Visitor Center phone contact Information. Visitor Center hours Monday-Friday 8:15 am to 1:30 pm.

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