Someone had recommended last week that I should make this week’s plant fact a Public Service Announcement. So I did. 🙂
This week’s plant fact is brought to you by Toxicodendron radicans, also known as poison ivy.
PLANT FACT OF THE WEEK: Poison ivy (and its relations poison oak and poison sumac) contain the oil urushiol. Late winter to early spring is the absolute worst time to get poison ivy. Poison ivy, like most other deciduous plants, tend to go dormant when temperatures begin to cool off as we head into winter time. This being said, even though the plant may look dead, it is alive and well. During the winter, the plant builds up the urushiol oil in its stem until spring time, when it then spreads the urushiol through its newly formed leaves. Do not think that you are immune to poison ivy because you have never contracted it. Some may have a tolerance more than others, but if one is repeatedly exposed to it, one is bound to get a rude awakening.
Edit To Add: J.P. brought up a very good point–poison ivy can look like a nasty hairy vine that lacks leaves (it is still just as bothersome as its leaf-bearing counterpart) and may hide in other shrubs and plants, so be cautious when hiking through woods and be aware of your surroundings.
Plant Fact: Indigenous Woody Plants of the Eastern U.S. Lecture, Spring 2010