Poison Ivy

Toxicodendron radicans

dsc_0521

I hate that shit. I hate that shit. I hate that shit. I hate that shit. I hate that shit.

I just look at it wrong and it gives me a fucking rash. Fuck you, you awful weed, just fuck you and die!! That shit grows practically everywhere, and I have to watch my step to avoid getting it on me. And I am sure I am not alone in all this.

The rash from poison ivy is caused by contact with an oil called urushiol.[i] Contrary to popular belief, the plant did not evolve this chemical to protect itself, but instead to retain moisture.[ii] In, fact, lots of critters eat parts or all of the plant.[iii] And apparently, it is a favorite of goats.[iv] Poison Ivy is also a major food source for many wild animals as well.[v] And though for us eating poison ivy will likely result in some sort of horrible, painful death (or at least get us very sick, for the lucky ones anyway)[vi], some of its relatives are popular food sources. Yup, Mangoes, pistachios and cashews are all related to poison ivy.[vii]

Poison Ivy comes in a great variety of forms. It can be a shrub, a vine or ground cover.[viii] But the important thing to look out for is its’ three leaves, though lots of plants have three leaves. But that is the first thing to look for. More closely, look at the arrangement of those leaves. The middle leaf has a longer stem than the other two.[ix] The leaves are also smooth or have a few jagged edges and never many jagged edges.[x] The leaves can come in many shades of green, though are often reddish when growing and turn brilliant colors (usually bright red) in the fall.[xi]

14568145_1236370013053104_7534946710003246302_n
Don’t try collecting this pretty fall foliage

Other things to look out for: It never has thorns.[xii] The vines are hairy.[xiii] In the spring, it produces a cluster of small greenish yellow flowers, and in late summer to early winter it has a cluster of small whitish berries.[xiv] Despite repeatedly telling him how to identify this horrid weed, my dad fails at this miserably, and insists everything is poison ivy, even stuff that looks nothing like it.

In case you come into contact with this crap, wash it off as quickly as possible, and then clean anything that was touched by it[xv]. Apparently the urushiol can stick around for years,[xvi] that fucking awful shit.  Do not scratch it, as it will only spread the rash, but baths with oatmeal or baking soda may help.[xvii] Covering your skin will protect you from the oils.[xviii]  If the rash covers most of the body, gets in the eyes, or you have difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.[xix] I have found that CVS produces an ointment that gets rid of it in a day or two, works great! However, there is some good news. It is not contagious,[xx] though my dad insists it is. Argue with him about it, I dare you.

Do not burn poison ivy, as the urushiol will become airborne, and then get into everything.[xxi] Just one more hazard this horrid weed presents to the world. Because you know it is bad enough that it grows damned near everywhere, and even thinking about it gives you a rash.  And the oils that produce the rash can stick around virtually forever.

Most people are allergic to this plant, but a lucky 15% are not.[xxii] Lucky assholes. I swear, this shit goes out of its way to give me a rash. Interesting side note. Some people may become allergic to it later in life, and likewise, others may lose it.[xxiii] Hope I will become one of those that loses the allergic reaction, but then again maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt. I think the latter is more likely. Grrrr. Fuck!

 

[i] Author Unknown “Toxodendron radicans” Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans 15OCT2016.

[ii] Author Unknown “Toxodendron radicans” Wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans 15OCT2016

[iii] Author Unknown “Toxodendron radicans” Wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans 15OCT2016

[iv] Author Unknown “Why Goats” Eco-Goats http://www.eco-goats.com/why-goats.shtml 15OCT2016

[v] Rosemary (only name given) “The Many Faces of Poison Ivy” Mass Audubon website http://blogs.massaudubon.org/yourgreatoutdoors/many-faces-of-poison-ivy/ Posted 23JUN2016

[vi] Author Unknown “Poison Ivy” Science Daily https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/poison_ivy.htm 2016

[vii] Author Unknown “Why Goats” Eco-Goats http://www.eco-goats.com/why-goats.shtml 15OCT2016

[vii] Rosemary (only name given) “The Many Faces of Poison Ivy” Mass Audubon website http://blogs.massaudubon.org/yourgreatoutdoors/many-faces-of-poison-ivy/ Posted 23JUN2016

[viii] Author Unknown “Toxodendron radicans” Wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans 15OCT2016

[ix] Author Unknown “Toxodendron radicans” Wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans 15OCT2016

[x] Rosemary (only name given) “The Many Faces of Poison Ivy” Mass Audubon website http://blogs.massaudubon.org/yourgreatoutdoors/many-faces-of-poison-ivy/ Posted 23JUN2016

[xi] Author Unknown “Toxodendron radicans” Wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans 19OCT2016

[xii] Hull. E.L. “Poison Ivy Lookalikes” Purple Butterflies http://www.purplebutterflies.com/lookalikes.html 18OCT2016

[xiii] Rosemary (only name given) “The Many Faces of Poison Ivy” Mass Audubon website http://blogs.massaudubon.org/yourgreatoutdoors/many-faces-of-poison-ivy/ Posted 23JUN2016

[xiv] Theriet, John W. (revising author) Neiring, William, A. and Olmstead, Nancy C. “National Audubon Society Field Guild to Wildflowers” 2003. Chanticleer Press New York, pg. 336

[xv] Author Unknown “Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac” American Academy of Dermatologists https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/itchy-skin/poison-ivy-oak-and-sumac#tips 2016

[xvi] Rosemary (only name given) “The Many Faces of Poison Ivy” Mass Audubon website http://blogs.massaudubon.org/yourgreatoutdoors/many-faces-of-poison-ivy/ Posted 23JUN2016

[xvii] Author Unknown “Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac” American Academy of Dermatologists https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/itchy-skin/poison-ivy-oak-and-sumac#tips 2016

[xviii] Author Unknown “Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac” American Academy of Dermatologists  https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/itchy-skin/poison-ivy-oak-and-sumac#tips 2016

[xix] Author Unknown “Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac” American Academy of Dermatologists https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/itchy-skin/poison-ivy-oak-and-sumac#treatment  2016

[xx] http://blogs.massaudubon.org/yourgreatoutdoors/many-faces-of-poison-ivy/

[xxi] Author Unknown “Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac” American Academy of Dermatologists https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/itchy-skin/poison-ivy-oak-and-sumac#causes 2016

[xxii] Author Unknown “Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac” American Academy of Dermatologists https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/itchy-skin/poison-ivy-oak-and-sumac#causes 2016

[xxiii] Author Unknown “Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac” American Academy of Dermatologists https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/itchy-skin/poison-ivy-oak-and-sumac#causes 2016dsc_0521

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s