03 June 2021

Re poison ivy

"It can be a ground cover, or shrubby, or a woody vine (called a liana), achieving nearly treelike proportions. Its leaves can be shiny or matte (even in the same population), in various shades of green (or red-bronze, upon emergence), and they vary in size and shape, with margins from smooth to toothed or deeply lobed."
“In one area in Quebec,” Ms. Pell said, “it has straplike leaflets and looks like a fern. In the Southeast, I have seen leaflets as long and wide as my head, and elsewhere, often very close by, leaflets shorter than my thumb.”
"Remember that any tools you use and garments you wear will be tainted with urushiol, and unless they’re thoroughly cleaned they can transfer it to your skin. Carefully bag any debris for the trash, but don’t add it to a burn pile: Urushiol can be released in smoke and will damage lungs.

And don’t make the mistake of thinking that it will wear off over time.

“I have heard of rashes caused by contact with tools that hadn’t been used in two years, but still had resin on them,” Ms. Pell said. Researchers referring to old herbarium specimens in scientific collections have likewise had reactions to the dried, pressed plants."
More information re identification and management of poison ivy at the New York Times.

I know of one huge patch of poison ivy on a golf course in northern Minnesota.  Since I'm not sensitive to the oil, I have on occasion waded in to retrieve errant drives, once emerging with my ball and twelve others.


  1. Re: Retrieval of errant drives.

    Throughout my childhood I was not in anyway sensitive to poison ivy.
    I found out hard way middle age that I was.
    I looked like I had performed rather poorly in a title fight.

  2. Could you do a post on Virginia creeper? I'm super allergic to that....25% of us are.

    1. I have lots of Virginia creeper in backyard woodland garden. I pull it by hand without injury, principally because the trailing vines on the ground tend to trip me.

      Here's a pretty good link from the Univ Wisconsin Horticulture dept:


  3. Urrrghh, my woodsy nemesis. Why yes, I am violently allergic to it and have even broken out from someone burning wood that had some on it, fortunately not enough to do lung damage. Hubs used to go out in the woods and would watch out for it as he knew what could happen. I would isolate his clothes and wash them two or three times in hot water. And it grew in our blasted back yard one year and got on the dogs, which got on me! I actually had a Doberman that got it too, though as a rule dogs don't.

  4. I live in rural southern MD. We have a forest type that includes poison ivy, something like sweet gum/p.i. We have let large downed oaks rot because they have old vines on them. Anyway I was driving to the PO (post office) and passed a dead chocolate lab on the shoulder. I figured the owner would see it and pick it up. It was there the next day and I decided that I didn't want to watch the vultures eat it or have some sick truck driver run over it for fun so I stopped and picked her up. There was no sign of trauma which was odd but anyway I took her back to our property and buried her at the end of our field. It was summer and there was drought on and the clay ground was like concrete. The grave was shallow so I put down some nylon bird netting , stretched it tight so as now to snare black snakes and put some black locust logs to discourage digging. I mentioned what I had done to the Post Mistress in case anyone came asking and two days later broke out in the second worst case of PI I have ever had from the unseen roots far removed from the vines in the forest. No good deed goes unpunished. The PM did find the owner and told her what had happened and been done but not by whom or where. A single log still marks Bailey's grave.


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