Poison Ivy – Toxicodendron radicans


Poison Ivy is a highly variable trailing vine, or climbing by aerial rootlets. It’s hairy trunk, resembling “hairy rope” hugs tree trunks as it climbs. Leaves are alternate, with 3 leaflets, outermost leaf on longer stalk; irregular toothed, smooth above, male and female on separate plants; June-July. Fruits smooth or hairy; Aug-Nov.

Poison ivys, poison oaks, and poison sumac is probably the best known and least liked of all poisonous plants in North America.Fifty percent of the population is allergic to some degree to this plant group. A breakout is painful, irritating dermatitis in about two million people in the US each year.

All plant parts including and especially th sap, contain irritant, nonvolatile, phenolic substances referred to as urushiol or toxicodendrol. The oily mixture, found in resin canals, is released when the plant is bruised. Contact with this substance causes severe contact dermatitis, including redness, itching, swelling and blistering. sometimes requires hospitalization.

Eating the fruits causes similar internal irritation. It is most dangerous in spring and summer when sap is abundant but is toxic all year-long. Droplets of the toxin may also be carried on the fur of pets that brush against the plant, or on equipment such as fishing poles and garden tools, then rubbed onto the skin of a human.

Thus it is possible to contract poison ivy without actually coming into contact with the plant.

I had a very large vine of poison ivy growing up one of my back trees. After catching the lovely toxin and going to the MED-First were I was the fourth person that day being treated for this not very kind allergic reaction, my goal was to set out to KILL it. Upon recovery I bought a large bag of rock salt and began throwing it at the base of the root. Every couple of weeks I threw down a fresh batch of rock salt. That fall those leaves of three were now brown and dead. I summoned a brother that had never had an allergic reaction to it to come help me chop this poisonous plant to the ground. If the rock salt hits other plants near by it may also kill those plants as well but it is worth it if you get rid of this terrible vine. You can easily replace the near by plants with the money that you will save from not having to go to the hospital every year.

This information was brought to you by Lawn Patio Barn.com for all your garden sculpture needs. We at Lawn Patio Barn have a saying about poison ivy, it is “Leaves of three let them be and Kill them with Rock Salt.”

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