How To Identify Poison Ivy From The Fakes

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

How to identify poison ivy from the fakes.

Well, it's summer and that means, please sing along, 'tis the season, for poison ivy.  People often take walks in the woods in summer.  So, look out! 

Poison ivy is the bane of every Boy Scoutmaster and scout camp in history!  It's also the bane of hikers who cannot identify it from the other plants that might look like it.

It's easily identified.  Just three equal, shiny leaves.  Then there are the sayings, "Leaves of three, leave it be..."

Well, not so fast!  There are a lot of shiny, three-leaf plants out there that are not poison ivy.

So, which is the poison ivy?  Look at the photo.

Hint:  The upper left?  Nope.  The upper left is pachysandra, a very aggressive ground cover in shady areas.

Hint:  The right center?  Nope.  The round plant on the right is a May Apple.  It produces little, edible apples in, um, wait, it's coming to me, oh!  In May.  (Scoutmaster hint:  wait until they are really ripe or they are bitter.  Even ripe a little sugar helps.)

Hint:  the lower right center?  Nope.  That's wild raspberry.  It will grow fast, tall and have very sharp thorns on it.

Hint:  the left center?  Nope.  That is a wild, shady creeper.  Scouts mistake it all the time for poison ivy.

Fact:  the upper right center!  I put a very thin red circle around it in case you missed it!

Poison ivy truly has three equal leaves, but they are a deeper green and shiny. 

The shininess comes from an oil in the leaf, called URUSHIOL OIL.  That oil classifies poison ivy as a TOXICODENDRON.

It is a true ivy, with rhizomes that shoot out underground, springs up into what looks like a single plant nearby.  When it climbs trees it has the big, hairy root.  It is parasitical, feeding off the host tree or shrub.

If you brush up against it, and the oil has enough time to bond, and a few hours is all it takes, you can get it.  Some people are immune and do not get the skin rash, but that is only about 20% of us.

What do you do if you think you may have come in contact with poison ivy?  Wash as soon as possible with COLD WATER and dishwasher soap.  That soap is formulated to remove grease and oils.  DO NOT use hot water, which opens the skin pores.

What do you do if you get the poison ivy rash?  Over the counter treatments will not shorten the itching time!  You will be affected for about two weeks!  All the over-the-counter poison ivy creams and lotions are basically useless.  Calamine lotion makes things feel better because it contains alcohol which makes the affected area feel cool for a while, but it can crack your skin.  Hydro-cortisone creams might feel better for a while too, because they shrink the rash blisters.  BUT YOU WILL STILL HAVE THE RASH FOR ABOUT TWO WEEKS.

The doctor might prescribe a steroid, or give you a shot.  But it likely won't shorten the itchy time either.

Iffn' yew wont sum genrul buuk lernin', click here.  (That is true Southern Virginian dialect and authentic)

My recommendation:  when you see poison ivy in its very young state, get rid of it.  But pulling it might not help because of its rhizome shoots.  Spray it with an herbicide and it will not come back.  And good luck!  No touchy.

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gita Bantwal 08/26/2018 03:01 AM
  2. Roy Kelley 08/28/2018 12:00 AM
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Rainmaker
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Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

This is great information for all gardeners.  Thank you for the photo reference!

Jul 08, 2018 02:21 AM #14
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks!  I have had many blogs on poison ivy, Sharon, but thought an instructional one would be a good idea.

Jul 08, 2018 03:06 AM #15
Ambassador
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Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Jay,

Thanks for the heads up and if I am down wind of poison ivy I can catch it ;o(

Your post has been featured to the group:

Addicted to Active Rain

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Jul 08, 2018 07:33 AM #16
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks VB!

Jul 08, 2018 09:54 AM #17
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Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I was a Boy Scout but luckily I never had a run in with poison ivy but this was an informative post.

Jul 09, 2018 10:55 PM #18
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

All I know about poison ivy I learned in the Boy Scouts, Joe!

Jul 10, 2018 03:05 AM #19
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Informative post on Poison Ivy...now I have that song running through my head.

I was not aware of the cold water washing but certainly makes sense.

Thanks Jay Markanich 

Jul 10, 2018 11:41 AM #20
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Jay- Larry would get into poison ivy in his hunting and hiking days and his skin is very sensitive to it. I too like Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland didn't know about the cold vs hot water thing but it does make a lot of sense. 

Jul 18, 2018 06:31 PM #21
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Margaret - every little bit of information helps!

Kathy - as they say, knowledge is everything.  Poison ivy is always a big deal at summer camp, when it hits about Wednesday and the kids go home Saturday.

Jul 19, 2018 03:57 AM #22
Rainmaker
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Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

I never get it right because of all the other 'tricksters' in the photo. 

Jul 29, 2018 05:15 PM #23
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Lyn - then poison ivy must be the trickster!

And it is...

Jul 30, 2018 01:29 AM #24
Rainmaker
1,525,384
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Thanks for the lesson, Jay. I often find myself saying, "Is that poison ivy?" I normally find out when I've broken out in a rash. 

Aug 05, 2018 10:10 AM #25
Rainmaker
1,833,654
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Mike - be sure not to scratch it and then rub your fingers all over your face, especially near the eyes!

Aug 05, 2018 10:26 AM #26
Rainmaker
3,185,163
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Great observation...and warning to all those who are in the are of "itchy plants" !

Aug 26, 2018 05:31 AM #27
Rainmaker
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Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Jay Markanich well, I don't know one plant from another, so my best option is to stay away from all of it...

Aug 26, 2018 06:03 AM #28
Rainmaker
1,833,654
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

S&D - as a Scoutmaster two times I am very, very familiar with poison ivy!

Beware those salad green plants, Miss Barbara!  By the way, I can make an excellent salad with things from the woods, like dandelion, May Apple, and stinging nettles (not kidding).   All edible!  You should try it!

Aug 26, 2018 09:55 AM #29
Rainmaker
5,262,104
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Jay, for sharing this important advice.

Have an outstanding week.

Aug 27, 2018 06:55 AM #30
Rainmaker
1,833,654
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Roy.   I think the post is useful information.

Aug 27, 2018 10:13 AM #31
Rainmaker
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Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

We don't see a lot of Poison Ivy here.  We have a ton of Poison Oak however.  I would have failed your test for identity, Jay.

Feb 23, 2019 04:06 PM #32
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

We have both ivy and oak here, Myrl.  What we don't have is poison sumac which is a western plant.

Feb 23, 2019 04:37 PM #33
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Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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