How To Recognize Poison Ivy


Poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak….all three names bring some terror to cottagers, especially anyone who has suffered the irritating, somewhat painful effects of coming in contact with the poisonous side of these little plants. One of the tricky things about poison ivy is recognizing it.

You can, and should learn how to recognize poison ivy. The little plants don’t look particularly scary, and they can grow in amongst other weeds and bushes which can make them hard to spot. On top of that, how many of us are actually looking that closely at plants and bushes as we walk along the edge of a field, or perhaps fish our way along a rocky stream. Well we probably should be….at least keep your eyes peeled for small three leaf plants growing around ‘edges’ or in amongst rocks.

I am not going to try and describe or how to recognize poison ivy, there are lots of other sites that do that better than I can here, for example, here is an excellent website Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac Centre that shows you various pictures of the poisonous plants and also has a place where you can submit a pic and ask if it is poison ivy.

I have grown up fishing in a spot where the shoreline is covered with what the locals have always called, “poison ivy” It’s a plant around 7-10″ tall that covers the shoreline on one side of a river we fish, growing amongst the rocks, and in around other harmless plants.

I have dallied with poison ivy occasionally, dropping a dipnet in it, or a fishing rod, even a fish. However, to date, I have never been bothered by it, although I have a friend who had a dreadful time with it, getting it all over his hands and legs.

If you do find yourself covered in poison ivy, getting to a doctor is probably the best bet. Here is some information from WebMD about it, but I still think going to a doctor might be the fastest route to some relief.

I have come to the conclusion, rather unscientific I must add, that poison ivy seems to affect some people and not others, and I believe it is worse when it is wet. I have also heard that burning poison ivy can be dangerous because the flumes can be toxic.

The Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac Centre website has some ideas about how to get rid of poison ivy, most of it involving the use of herbicides.

The website also mentions very clearly DO NOT BURN POISON IVY. So don’t burn it….there I told you twice…do not burn it…three times…Here is a picture of the stream I mentioned, that is what we call poison ivy growing in the rocks along the shoreline…lots of it…

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