Poison Ivy-Leaves of three, let it be!

Posted on 28. Mar, 2012 by in World of Wonder, WOW! Blog

Spring has come early this year and with it has come the regrowth of Poison Ivy.  I see leaves popping out on the old vines on trees and soon new growth will be showing on all the vines and shrubs of this miserable plant.  This is a repost of something from last year:

Wonderful to be outdoors in the summertime, going for a hike in the wetlands, on the greenway or even strolling in your backyard. One of the hazzards you may encounter is Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) . Fifty percent of the population is allergic to this plant. Contact with the sap causes painful, irritating rash in those who are sensitive. All parts of the plant contain the oily mixture and even brushing against the plant can release the sap which binds with the skin and produces the rash. Washing soon after contact can help avoid the rash. But, avoiding contact with the plant is the best approach. Learning to recognize this plant is important. The picture above is Poison Ivy in it’s trailing form.

It also can form a vine up a tree easily recognized because it has a very hairy vine. Even in winter when the leaves have been shed you should look for the hairy vine on the trees and avoid them if you are sensitive.

Another plant sometimes mistaken for Poison Ivy is Virginia Creeper. Notice in the picture above that it has five leaves in a cluster instead of three. And the vine is not hairy.

Blackberries have three leaf clusters as well, but they have briars. Briars are painful if you get snared by them but don’t cause a rash like Poison Ivy.


So, even though it’s hot outdoors, if you plan to go hiking in places with a lot of undergrowth you should wear long pants, shoes and socks and even a light weight long sleeved shirt to be on the safe side. When you get home take a shower, not a bath, to remove any traces of the Poison Ivy sap. You should also wash the clothes you wore in hot water with detergent.


Now, get outside and enjoy yourself!



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