Poison Ivy - Nature's "Three Leaf Wonder"

Typical poison ivy leaf
Poison Ivy is not your friend!
No trip to the woods is complete without running into the three leaf wonder known as poison ivy. I call it the "three leaf wonder" because it is an absolutely amazing plant, although certainly not in a good way.

Poison ivy can grow literally anywhere there is soil and sun. It can be exceptionally hard to kill off. It is a perennial (which means it comes back every year), but it also can be easily re-seeded elsewhere, thanks to birds. It can creep, climb, lay low or bush out, create huge vines, and even cover entire trees. Is well-camoflagued with its green color and can grow right along with other plants, making it difficult to spot. Most importantly, it can cause reactions in people that range from none at all to irritating to extremely serious. I can't think of too many other plants that have all of those things on their resume.

Having worked outside for five years, I can tell you I am quite familiar with this menace. I was allergic to it at one point in my life and probably still am (I don't really care to find out). I've gotten really good at identifying it and I want to share some of my knowledge since running into poison ivy on a photo shoot in the woods is almost a guarantee. For that matter, running into it in your yard, a park, or practically anyplace else is also a great possibility.

Choose from the following to learn more...

How You "Catch" Poison Ivy
Popular Poison Ivy Myths
How to Identify Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy Photos
Poison Ivy Look-a-Likes
Help... I Touched It! (First steps after exposure)
Help For a Poison Ivy Rash

By the way, these are pages about poison ivy. I've never encountered poison oak or poison sumac in my life, so I can't identify either one. However, I do know that they contain the same irritating urushiol oil that poison ivy does and can cause the same problems.

The information here is a basic primer on poison ivy. A great site with a lot more information and photos is http://www.poison-ivy.org.