Want to know how to identify poison ivy effectively? If you want to avoid the aggravation of the dreaded poison ivy, this infographic with relevant tips and ideas that will certainly help you!
How To Identify Poison Ivy Like An Expert
Poison ivy is unfortunately well-known for very nasty reasons. Every parent must warn their kids of this infamous plant before they're allowed to explore the outdoors. Living in a wide and woodsy area, I've been warned of it myself early on.
Knowing the effects of poison ivy, perhaps made me wary of it–I dare not inspect the plant up close. Anything that resembles the plant sends a signal for me to stay as far away from it as possible. Poison ivy is even one of the reason why camping far out in the woods is a no-no for me.
If you're missing out on a lot of fun outdoor activities because of poison ivy, this infographic should help.
What Is Poison Ivy?
Poison ivy or Toxicodendron radicans, despite its common name, is not actually an ivy but a member of the cashew and almond family. It can be a vine, a bush, and an undergrowth, but it's more commonly considered a weed–and an unwelcome one at that. All the parts of poison ivy are poisonous, from the leaves, branches, seeds, and flowers.
While poison ivy is common in the wild, some adventurous ones could grow in your yard. Make sure to use protective clothing when getting rid of poison ivy, and avoid burning them if you don't want allergic reactions from the smoke.
One alarmingly amazing fact about poison ivy is how well they adapt to carbon dioxide. They've been flourishing as of late, thus indicating the increase in the carbon dioxide level in our atmosphere.
How To Identify Poison Ivy
Revisit or introduce yourself to these catchy rhymes. They are easy to remember so you can be guided and aided on how to identify poison ivy.
Leaves of three, let it be. Poison ivy leaves are usually grouped into three.
Hairy vine, no friend of mine; raggy rope, don't be a dope. Refers to the shaggy, ragged appearance of poison ivy vines on trees.
Berries white, run in fright; Berries white, danger in sight. Whitish-gray berry-like fruits mature on poison ivy plants from August to November.
Longer middle stem, stay away from them. The middle leaflet of poison ivy leaves are noticeably longer than those on the two side leaflets.
Red leaflets in the spring, it’s a dangerous thing. The color of the leaves can vary depending on the season – green in the summer, reddish-orange during autumn, and red during spring.
Side leaflets like mittens, will itch like the dickens. Some have side leaflets that look like a mitten with a thumb.
If butterflies land there, don’t put your hand there. Butterflies can safely land on poison ivy, which provides them protection from predators who can’t eat the plant.
Poison Ivy Rash and Remedies
What's causing the allergic reactions from poison ivy is the urushiol, which is a clear, oily compound found in the sap of plants. It causes an itchy, irritating, and painful rash in most people who are allergic to it. The effects can be mild to severe depending on the frequency and amount of exposure to urushiol.
Traditional treatment such as calamine lotion and Burrow's solution relieves discomfort, but have been shown to be ineffective. Amazingly, homemade treatments such as aloe vera, oatmeal, and baking soda have been recommended by dermatologists as treatment. You can also check out this natural poison ivy treatment that works.
What to do when you come in contact with poison ivy
Within ten minutes after exposure: Wash your hands with soap and cool water.
Beyond ten minutes after exposure: Try store-bought products for poison ivy rash.
Carefully remove your clothes and put them in the washer to avoid further spread of the oil.
If you have access to pecan leaves, you can boil around 15-20 leaves in 3 cups of water. Cool it down, dip a soft cloth, and gently press on the affected areas.
Getting Rid of Poison Ivy
Here are some tips to safely get rid of poison ivy if you ever find your homestead invaded by this pesky plant.
Get into gear
- Cover every inch of your body for protection. Wear gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and tuck your pants into your socks or boots. It’s also ideal to wear goggles and a mask.
- If you have access to a hose or outdoor shower, wash yourself after coming in contact with poison ivy.
- Be sure to throw your clothes in the washer and hose down your boots immediately afterwards.
If you’re planning to cut down to ground level, do not destroy the vines.
- Cutting or breaking the vines can cause it to release toxic air, so remember to keep the vines intact when disposing them
- What you’ll need: shears or pruners, trash bag
If you want to pull the plant, dig out as much as you can.
- If there are only a few plants, you can try manually removing them. Just make sure to dig as far as the roots go so you can pull them out completely.
- What you’ll need: shovel, trash bag
Spray solutions on widely spread poison ivy.
Has the poison ivy invaded a large area in your homestead? Here are some natural and chemical solutions you can try out:
- Salt Water Spray
Create a solution of 1 cup salt for every gallon of water, then add in 1 tablespoon of dish soap.
You can also try using a chemical weed killer on the poison ivy, but be careful that it doesn’t come in contact with plants you don’t intend to kill.
Do not burn, compost, or shred poison ivy. Ensure that the trash bags you used are tightly sealed and won’t split when carried. Avoid reusing disposable gloves you’ve used during the task.
Wash down any tools that have come in contact with the poison ivy and disinfect with rubbing alcohol. Dry out before storing to avoid rusting.
Plants Which Are Just As Poisonous
Although poison ivy has been the subject of dread and isolation, there are other plants that are just as dangerous. The western and eastern poison oak, poison sumac are also poisonous and even resembles poison ivy to some degree. You can also follow up on these tips to know more about poison ivy or check here to know more about the three poisonous plants.
Get more tips here on how to identify a poison ivy in this video:
Now you know how to identify poison ivy whenever and wherever you see any. You also know not all green leaves with pointed leaves are poison ivy. Next time, you can avoid feeling the wrath of poison ivy or calm down when brushed with a leaf.
So, will you be able to identify poison ivy now? Share your thoughts below in the comments!
While poison ivy is a plant to avoid in the wild, make sure to check these edible wild plants to help you survive in the wild.
This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.