Say the word poison ivy and people itch! Not really, but it can seem that way. Over 85% of the people that come into contact with the plant can have an allergic reaction. This can range from a few blisters to a reaction so severe they end up in the hospital. Poison Ivy is very interesting though. It has quite a few facts that many people know nothing about. Take the time to learn about our itchy friend, Poison Ivy.
1. Where Poison Ivy Comes From
Poison Ivy can grow either in a bush or a climbing vine. This is important to know, because vines grow up the side of houses. Before you go pulling off a pesky vine, put on your thinking cap. The vines can grow almost anywhere. They can go up the side of a building, even another bush or a tree. You need to have watchful eyes around our pesky friend.
A bush of Poison Ivy can grow as tall as three to five feet. That is huge. It is a perennial. That means the plant can live up to three years unharmed. The leaves of a Poison Ivy plant cluster in three. Have you ever heard the rhyme “Leaves of three, let them be!”? That means Poison Ivy! In the vine or the bush, the leaves of three are always clustered together. They are bright green, resembling hemlock green. In Autumn, the leaves have a very bright red vein that run through them. If you see this, do not touch. Even though the weather has gotten colder, Poison Ivy is still just as dire.
2. Most Common Time for Poison Ivy to Mature
In May through August, the Poison Ivy plant has flowers. They have a light greenish color to them. As they mature, the color gets brighter. These are not flowers to be picked though. Admire them from afar, please. If you pick these flowers, you will get a reaction for sure.
Poison Ivy has a small berry called a durgal. It is deep red. Animals can eat these berries. They are not allergic to the plant. Only humans have an allergic reaction to Poison Ivy, no one else.
3. Are You Allergic?
The substance that causes the allergic reaction is an oil. It is called Urushiol Oil. It takes only the amount the size of a pinhead to cause a reaction. Think about that. Only the size of a pinhead drop, and you could be itching all day long. That is so very small for what could be a huge itch. Mango trees also have Urushiol Oil, but it doesn’t cause the same reaction.
If you get Poison Ivy, you cannot spread it to another person. It is not contagious, even if they come in contact with a blister. Either way, be smart. Leaves of three, let them be.