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Poison Ivy

May 28, 2010

Location: Connecticut River, New Hampshire

I was walking in the woods on the shore of the Connecticut River last weekend and noticed a pervasive leafy ground cover that made me itch just looking at it. You guessed it – poison ivy. It’s baaaaack! Every spring, the nasty stuff shows its three tell-tale leaves just about the time I feel like tromping around in the woods. Poison ivy favors the shorelines around lakes and ponds and the edge of trails and clearings where it can get sunlight without getting trampled. It can take the form of ground cover or a woody vine. If your skin comes in contact with poison ivy, any part of the plant, the itchy rash appears anywhere from two hours to several days later unless you clean the area removing the Urushiol oil which causes the rash. Even the dead stuff is deadly, as Urushiol oil sticks around for up to 5 years. Don’t worry about spreading it once you get the rash; by then you’ve likely washed away the oil. The liquid inside the blisters is mainly water. To avoid getting poison ivy, remember the saying, “Leaves of three, let it be.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rosemary Allen permalink
    May 29, 2010 10:03 am

    While attending an herb walk at Point Reyes National Seashore some years back I do remember the Miwok and Pomo people telling me that poison oak or its relative, poison ivy is a plant that acts like a guardian for certain parts of the forest. When you come upon it, the plant is telling you in loud voice,
    “Stop! Walk around. This place is under restoration, do not disturb.” I have taken that saying to heart over the years and I must say I do walk more carefully through and around nature’s edges.

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