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POISON IVY FACTS, MYTHS & IDENTIFICATION. Poison Ivy ( Rhus radicans or Toxicodendron radicans ) is in the Sumac Family. A deciduous vine hardy to zone 2, can climb up to 40 ft. in a tree or on other objects It is native to most of the United States

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poison ivy facts myths identification
POISON IVY FACTS, MYTHS & IDENTIFICATION

Poison Ivy (Rhus radicans or Toxicodendron radicans) is in the Sumac Family.

A deciduous vine hardy to zone 2, can climb up to 40 ft. in a tree or on other objects

It is native to most of the United States

Usually identified by three leaflets per “leaf”, also develops aerial roots which can attach to trees, fences, or other structures

Male and female on separate plants (dioecious), fruits eaten by birds and scattered throughout the landscape and unmaintained areas

Can grow just about any where, sun or shade, wet or dry, good or poor soil

Contains the oil, urushiol (you-ROO-shee-all) which, when it comes in contact with the skin, people can develop an allergic reaction and a rash

The oil can remain potent for up to five years

Three ways to get rash:

Direct Contact – touching a plant that contains urushiol

Indirect Contact – Urushiol can stick to almost anything, pets fur, garden tools, clothing, shoes

Airborne Contact – Burning poison ivy releases particles of urushiol which can contact skin

slide2

Typical Poison Ivy vine in a home landscape

  • This picture demonstrates a lot of things you should look for to help you identify
  • and avoid poison ivy, including:
  • three leaflets ('leaves of three, let it be')
  • the middle leaflet has a longer stalk (petiole) than the other two
  • leaflets are fatter near their base
  • elliptical leaflets with slight lobes
  • leaflets are all about the same size
  • no thorns along the stem
  • clusters of green or white berries may be present
  • aerial roots may be visible on the stem
slide4

Is this Poison Ivy?

No, this is not poison ivy.

It is Virginia Creeper, which is growing on an old barn in Pennsylvania.

Virginia Creeper is often confused with poison ivy. Note the groups of 5 leaflets, instead of the more characteristic

'leaves of three' configuration of poison ivy.

slide5

Another photo of a poison ivy plant.

It is interesting to note that these poison ivy leaves look a lot different than the other poison ivy plants we have shown.

That is an important reminder that poison ivy can look like a lot of different plants and you should try to remember its main characteristics instead of trying to memorize specific poison ivy pictures if you really want to avoid it.

slide7

Is This Poison Ivy?

There is a lot of different things growing here, but the plants in the middle are poison ivy.

poison ivy vine on pine tree

Poison Ivy vine on Pine tree

Note the aerial roots attached to the bark

slide9

A picture of Poison Oak, growing on a cedar tree.

Like poison ivy, poison oak usually grows in clusters of three leaves.

slide10

Treating Poison Ivy Exposures

  • If you are exposed, according to the FDA, you should do the following quickly (within 10 minutes):
  • First, cleanse exposed areas with rubbing alcohol or a product like Tecnu.
  • Next, wash the exposed areas with water only no soap yet, since soap can move

the urushiol, which is the oil from the poison ivy that triggers the rash, around

your body and actually make the reaction worse.

  • Then wash the exposed area with soap and warm water.
  • Finally, put gloves on and wipe everything you had with you, including shoes,

tools, and your clothes, with rubbing alcohol and water.

  • Unfortunately, if you wait more than 10 minutes, the urushiol will likely stay on your skin and trigger the poison ivy rash. You may not be able to stop it on your skin, but you might still scrub your nails and wipe off your shoes, etc., so that you don't spread the urushiol to new areas.
some other ideas
Some other ideas
  • Members of the U.S. Forestry Service will spray arms and legs with deodorant, the aluminum chlorohydrate will help prevent the oil from causing a rash.
  • Rhus Tox is both a preventative and post rash reliever. It can be obtained over the counter at local pharmacies. Follow directions and take the proper dose before possible contact with poison ivy. Check with your doctor before using this product.
  • Use a product like IvyBlock 15 minutes before going into a possible exposure area.
  • Baking soda and water can be mixed to make a paste to help stop the itching.
  • Calamine lotion can be very soothing for the itchy rash of poison ivy. Calamine lotion that is not diluted with water can form a thin crust over the rash, which can make it less sensitive. For mild cases this may be all you need. In treating children, avoid combination products that contain antihistamines because too much antihistamine can be absorbed through the skin.
  • In both children and adults, a compress with ice-cold whole milk helps dry the rash and soothe the itch, but don't use skim milk: It's the fat in milk that helps.