My BIGGEST gripe with this pesky plant is that it has way too many variations!

   Check out some of these photos I found on the web:

Hey it's WAX OFF.......



How beauteous the fall foliage....NOT!!!!

Just an innocent plant growing right next to your boot....

Oh, look, a dark green pointed version and....

a dark green rounded version. Ug...

If a root looks fuzzy and creepy- Run!!!


 Oh look, it's flowering!!  Ahhhh!!!!


Far Right: "The fruit of Poison Ivy is referred to botanically as a drupe, and is greenish-white in color. "

 (Did you notice it doesn't look anything like all the other  pictures????  This is one sneaky plant folks.)



                                                         Read More About Poison Ivy Under This Box

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                                               Virginia Creeper


                                                 Virginia Bower


Ugly Rash

These are direct quotes for your convenience from the websites listed:

According to the Wall Street Journal... indicates that poison ivy has gotten MUCH nastier since the 1950's. Leaf size and nasty oil content are way up.

Approximately 85 percent of the population will develop an allergic reaction if exposed to poison ivy, oak or sumac, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Nearly one-third of forestry workers and firefighters who battle forest fires in California, Oregon and Washington develop rashes or lung irritations from contact with poison oak, which is the most common of the three in those states.

The cause of the rash, blisters, and infamous itch is urushiol (pronounced oo-roo-shee-ohl), a chemical in the sap of poison ivy, oak and sumac plants. Because urushiol is inside the plant, brushing against an intact plant will not cause a reaction. But undamaged plants are rare.

Reactions, treatments and preventive measures are the same for all three poison plants. Avoiding direct contact with the plants reduces the risk but doesn't guarantee against a reaction. Urushiol can stick to pets, garden tools, balls, or anything it comes in contact with. If the urushiol isn't washed off those objects or animals, just touching them--for example, picking up a ball or petting a dog--could cause a reaction in a susceptible person. (Animals, except for a few higher primates, are not sensitive to urushiol.)

Urushiol that's rubbed off the plants onto other things can remain potent for years, depending on the environment. If the contaminated object is in a dry environment, the potency of the urushiol can last for decades, says Epstein. Even if the environment is warm and moist, the urushiol could still cause a reaction a year later.

If you've been exposed to poison ivy, oak or sumac, if possible, stay outdoors until you complete the first two steps:

  • First, Epstein says, cleanse exposed skin with generous amounts of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. (Don't return to the woods or yard the same day. Alcohol removes your skin's protection along with the urushiol and any new contact will cause the urushiol to penetrate twice as fast.)
  • Second, wash skin with water. (Water temperature does not matter; if you're outside, it's likely only cold water will be available.)
  • Third, take a regular shower with soap and warm water. Do not use soap before this point because "soap will tend to pick up some of the urushiol from the surface of the skin and move it around," says Epstein.
  • Clothes, shoes, tools, and anything else that may have been in contact with the urushiol should be wiped off with alcohol and water. Be sure to wear gloves or otherwise cover your hands while doing this and then discard the hand covering.

Dealing with the Rash

If you don't cleanse quickly enough, or your skin is so sensitive that cleansing didn't help, redness and swelling will appear in about 12 to 48 hours. Blisters and itching will follow. For those rare people who react after their very first exposure, the rash appears after seven to 10 days.

Because they don't contain urushiol, the oozing blisters are not contagious nor can the fluid cause further spread on the affected person's body. Nevertheless, Epstein advises against scratching the blisters because fingernails may carry germs that could cause an infection.

The rash will only occur where urushiol has touched the skin; it doesn't spread throughout the body. However, the rash may seem to spread if it appears over time instead of all at once. This is either because the urushiol is absorbed at different rates in different parts of the body or because of repeated exposure to contaminated objects or urushiol trapped under the fingernails.

The rash, blisters and itch normally disappear in 14 to 20 days without any treatment. But few can handle the itch without some relief. For mild cases, wet compresses or soaking in cool water may be effective. Oral antihistamines can also relieve itching.

FDA also considers over-the-counter topical corticosteroids (commonly called hydrocortisones under brand names such as Cortaid and Lanacort) safe and effective for temporary relief of itching associated with poison ivy.

For severe cases, prescription topical corticosteroid drugs can halt the reaction, but only if treatment begins within a few hours of exposure. "After the blisters form, the [topical] steroid isn't going to do much," says Epstein. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people who have had severe reactions in the past should contact a dermatologist as soon as possible after a new exposure.

Severe reactions can be treated with prescription oral corticosteroids. Phillip M. Williford, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology, Wake Forest University, prescribes oral corticosteroids if the rash is on the face, genitals, or covers more than 30 percent of the body. The drug must be taken for at least 14 days, and preferably over a three-week period, says FDA's Ko. Shorter courses of treatment, he warns, will cause a rebound with an even more severe rash.

There are a number of OTC products to help dry up the oozing blisters, including:

  • aluminum acetate (Burrows solution)
  • baking soda
  • Aveeno (oatmeal bath)
  • aluminum hydroxide gel
  • calamine
  • kaolin
  • zinc acetate
  • zinc carbonate
  • zinc oxide

The oozing fluids released by itching blisters do not spread the poison. The appearance of a spreading rash indicates that some areas received more of the poison and reacted sooner than other areas. The blisters and oozing result from blood vessels that develop gaps and leak fluid through the skin; if the skin is cooled, the vessels constrict and leak less. If poison ivy is burned and the smoke then inhaled, this rash will appear on the lining of the lungs, causing extreme pain and possibly fatal respiratory difficulty. If poison ivy is eaten, the digestive tract, airway, kidneys or other organs can be damaged.

Understanding why new lesions may develop for two weeks (studied on forearm) after one exposure was made clear by a University of Miami scientist: larger amounts have earliest onset and largest reaction, smallest produce a delayed reaction. The overall severity 'progresses' with the combined active lesions. Therefore, the last new lesion should occur at two weeks after last exposure, the total rash (untreated) may go on for 3-4 weeks.

Urushiol oil can remain active for several years, so handling dead leaves or vines can cause a reaction. In addition, oil transferred from the plant to other objects (such as pet fur) can cause the rash if it comes into contact with the skin.[6]

People who are sensitive to poison-ivy can also experience a similar rash from mangoes. Mangoes are in the same family (Anacardiaceae) as poison ivy; the sap of the mango tree and skin of mangoes has a chemical compound similar to urushiol. [7]

Similar reactions have been reported occasionally from contact with the related aromatic sumac or Japanese lacquer tree.

*Do not burn ivy. The oil can become airborne and go into your lungs. This a problem for firefighters during a forest fire and another good reason for their breathing equipment.

Confusion with other plants

  • Boxelder Maple (Acer negundo) saplings can look almost indistinguishable from poison ivy. While Boxelder Maples often have five or seven leaflets, three leaflets are also common. The two can be differentiated by the fact that Poison-ivy has alternate leaves, while the maple has opposite leaves; in other words, by observing where the leaf stalk (the "branch" the three leaflets are attached to) meets the main branch. Another leaf stalk directly on the opposite side is characteristic of Boxelder Maple. If the three-leaflet leaves alternate along the main branch, it may be Poison-ivy.
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) vines can look like Poison-ivy. The younger leaves can consist of three leaflets but have a few more serrations along the leaf edge, and the leaf surface is somewhat wrinkled. Most Virginia creeper leaves have five leaflets, however. Virginia creeper and poison ivy very often grow together, even on the same tree. Beware that some people are allergic to the oxalate crystals that are in its sap, even people who do not get poison ivy.
  • Western Poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum‎) leaflets also come in threes on the end of a stem, but each leaflet is shaped somewhat like an oak leaf. Western Poison-oak only grows in the western United States and Canada, although many people will refer to poison ivy as poison-oak. This is because poison ivy will grow in either the ivy-like form or the brushy oak-like form depending on the moisture and brightness of its environment. The ivy form likes shady areas with only a little sun, tends to climb the trunks of trees, and can spread rapidly along the ground.
  • Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) has compound leaves with 715 leaflets. Poison sumac never has only three leaflets.
  • Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is a non-toxic edible vine that scrambles extensively over lower vegetation or grows high into trees. Kudzu is an invasive species in the southern United States. Like poison ivy it has three leaflets, but the leaflets are bigger than those of poison ivy and are pubescent underneath with hairy margins.
  • Blackberry and raspberry vines bear a passing resemblance to poison ivy, with which they may share territory. The chief difference between blackberry vines and poison ivy is that blackberry vines have spines on them, whereas poison ivy is smooth. Also, the three-leaflet pattern of blackberry vine leaves changes as the plant grows: the two bottom leaves both split into two leaves, for a total of five in a cluster. They have many teeth along the leaf edge, and the top surface of their leaves is very wrinkled where the veins are, and the bottom of the leaves is light minty - greenish white, while poison ivy is all green. The stem and vine of poison ivy are brown and woody, while blackberry stems are green with thorns.
  • The thick vines of grape, with no rootlets visible, differ from the vines of poison ivy, which have so many rootlets that the stem going up a tree looks furry.