One might not think of Poison Ivy as a subject of a tutorial for a photo/travel blog and it probably isn’t but, from the many questions that I receive about Poison Ivy, I decided to add this page to, as a minimum, show what Poison Ivy looks like for the uninitiated.
This sign that I photographed at the Beaver Lake Nature Center near Baldwinsville, NY gives a quick overview of some of the characteristics and concerns about Poison Ivy. This tutorial will expand on that with plenty of images.
From time to time, I will be adding more information but, for the moment, this page will serve more as a pictorial guide to what the plant looks like and what one should avoid when out on the trails or frolicking through the vegetation on the the edge of many North American beaches.
Probably the tallest Poison Ivy that I have ever seen was growing all around this sign in High Park, Toronto.
Poison Ivy is a noxious weed that frequents sandy soil and especially likes to grow beside forest margins and trails where photographers walk and along beach fronts where children play.
Pictured is a creeping ground cover variety of this noxious weed which causes untold misery to those who are sensitive to the skin irritant “urushiol” which is a component of all parts of this plant. There are a number of subspecies of poison ivy with different growth habits which can include ground cover as pictured here, or a vine like growth or various versions of shrub like growth. This plant can cause agony to those who are allergic to it.
Some varieties grow close to the ground. Others grow as vines. The particular variety in the following photo was growing as a small woody shrub-like plant about one foot tall in the wooded areas around Cooper Marsh in southern Ontario.
Emerging poison ivy leaves can be colours other than green. This specimen was emerging near Shirley’s Bay on the Ottawa River.
An Elementary School teacher’s worst nightmare: Fall classes have begun. Young student wants to make a big impression. Decides to pick the new teacher a nice bouquet of wildflowers. Wants to add a bit of background colour. Can’t quite reach the maple leaves that are just beginning to change colours. Spies a nice patch of plants with orange and red leaves closer to the ground. Picks some. Adds them in with the flowers. Heads to school with a big smile. Presents the bouquet to the new teacher – also all smiles ………………..
Poison Ivy berries: The next day or so another child arrives at school with a nice bunch of berries that he/she has picked for the substitute teacher and leaves these on the desk to be added to the bouquet of nice coloured leaves in the vase on the teacher’s desk. A rash of sick leave requests was sure to follow :-).