Poison Ivy 101

In this post we will discuss a little about Poison Ivy- how to identify it, what causes the skin irritation and how it can get into your yard.

Identify

Poison Ivy, or Toxicodendron Radicans is a type of plant that can be sometimes difficult to identify due to its many variations. The plant can grow as a climbing or traveling vine and in a shrub-like form.

It also can have leaves with teeth or smooth edges, green or red foliage, as well as thrive in very hot and dry or shaded and damp locations.

But despite it’s variety of forms, it always has three leaves. You may discover plants in the backyard that appear and behave like poison ivy, but has five leaves. This is not poison ivy (it’s most likely Virginia Creeper, which can also cause skin irritation).


Urushiol

Poison Ivy growing within plants.

Urushiol oil is the culprit in causing skin irritation when touching poison ivy. This oil is found within the sap of the plant and on its leaves. Plants with Urushiol can cause rashes from contact for up to five years after they have died and should be treated carefully when being removed.


Growing Habits

As stated above, poison ivy can grow in hot and dry or shady and damp conditions. It produces flowers that will turn into berries and these berries are the reason why poison ivy ends up growing in your yard. Animals like birds will eat the fruit containing the seeds and disperse them across town, allowing the plant to migrate and grow.


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