Around the Farm Friday: Poison Ivy

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Poison Ivy climbing up barn
Poison Ivy climbing up barn

We have this poison ivy growing up our barn. every year we battle it, and every year it comes back. I am very, very, very allergic. The last few times I have actually gotten the poison ivy rash I had to be treated with steroids. Here are some cute little rhymes from Wikipedia to help you identify poison ivy, but I personally practice when in doubt don’t touch 🙂

  • “Longer middle stem; stay away from them.” This refers to the middle leaflet having a visibly longer stem than the two side leaflets and is a key to differentiating it from the similar-looking Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac).
  • “Leaves of three; let it be.”
  • “Hairy vine, no friend of mine.”Poison ivy vines are very poisonous.
  • “Raggy rope, don’t be a dope!” Poison ivy vines on trees have a furry “raggy” appearance. This rhyme warns tree climbers to be wary. Old, mature vines on tree trunks can be quite large and long, with the recognizable leaves obscured among the higher foliage of the tree.
  • “One, two, three? Don’t touch me.”
  • “Berries white, run in fright” and “Berries white, danger in sight.”
  • “Red leaflets in the spring, it’s a dangerous thing.” This refers to the red appearance that new leaflets sometimes have in the spring. (Note that later, in the summer, the leaflets are green, making them more difficult to distinguish from other plants, while in autumn they can be reddish-orange.)
  • “Side leaflets like mittens, will itch like the dickens.” This refers to the appearance of some, but not all, poison ivy leaves, where each of the two side leaflets has a small notch that makes the leaflet look like a mitten with a “thumb.” (Note that this rhyme should not be misinterpreted to mean that only the side leaflets will cause itching, since actually all parts of the plant can cause itching.)
  • “If it’s got hair, it won’t be fair.” This refers to the hair that can be on the stem and leaves of poison ivy.

Helpful Links:

Toxicodendron radicans –From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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