Poisonous plant identification

Cheshire

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Poison ivy, or Rhus radicans is a scourge to us buggers and herpers. It's itchy rash is the stuff childhood summer camp stories are made of.

So here's some pictures of poison ivy to help you stay away from it when you're out in the feild.

We're all very aware of the old 'leaves of 3' saying, and while this is accurate quite a bit of the time there are many plants that look similars.

Poison ivy is most easily distinguished by three leaves centered around a red stem in the center.

One leaf always has a longer stem than the other
 

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Cheshire

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Mimics

In this part, I am going to discuss how to identify Virginia Creeper.

VIrginia creeper is a vine that looks almost identical to poison ivy. However, it is harmless. The plant usually has 5 leaves, but I've seen numbers ranging from three to seven.

The leaves on virginia creeper can be about the same size as those of poison ivy, but have teeth on both margins that are finer and more in number than those of poison ivy.

Both poison ivy and virginia creeper produce friut. Virginia creeper produces dark blue to black berries, while poison ivy's berries are white.

Although virginia creeper's leaves all originate from a central stock, similar to poison ivy, The stems on virginia creeper plants aren't as pronounced as those of poison ivy.
 

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Crotalus

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Thanks! That will come in handy. Allthough Im not too sensible to poision ivy - yet anyway.
 

Arietans

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Not to hijack a thread, but here's a tip for you guys.

Identifying all the poisonous plants in Africa is a daunting task to say the least. So we have learnt a few other skills.

1) Break open a leaf and a fruit. Rub it on your skin (not all over, just a little). If a rash starts to form, its poisonous.

2) Watch the animals. They are picky eaters, and only go after things very tasty. If they avoid something its a good bet its poisonous. The perfect animals to watch are squirrels and monkeys.
 

Tim Benzedrine

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My mother swears that Virginia creeper poisons her. I've explained that it is not toxic and that she either A) Contacts poison ivy in the same vicinity that she noticed Virginia creeper since they often grow in the same place, or B) has her own unique allergy to the plant. I always correct her when she calls it "poison vine" and she keeps saying she is going to rub some on herself to prove it to me. Nevermind that I have proved it in reverse by handling it and not showing any signs of a reaction.

Is poison ivy unique to the New World? If so, I'm sort of surprised that it hasn't been introduced elsewhere.
 

DE3

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not a hijack, trying to be helpful

Some other poison ivy observations:

pi grows in many forms. it can be a small bush, or a gigantic one. it can be a ground crawling vine. or a tree climbing vine.

pi will look much different in the early Spring, and the Fall than it does during the summer.

one should be careful when collecting firewood from areas with pi. Even though the pi is dead and gone from the wood, inhaling smoke from "contaminated" firewood can lead to an internal allergic reaction!

if you've been walking through poison ivy, (like I do) wash your clothes and shower-up at your earliest convienience.

if you like to transplant trees collected in the woods, (usually something you'd do in the late fall or early spring) make sure the tree you're moving didnt have pi growing on it. This can be done by choosing your tree when it's still green out. People with high sensativity to pi (like my father) can get horrible reactions from "contaminated" wood.

never say "I'm not allergic to pi"... But unless you are paticularily sensative to pi, dont live in fear of it -- just be sensible.
 

Sheri

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You must also have poison oak as we do here - many find it worse than poison ivy...

though I seem to have a decent natural resistance to it - I know I've exposed myself (once knowingly when I was much, much younger) and never had a reaction.

Of course... there was a time urticating hairs didn't bother me either. ;)

I was a little surprised that Lelle has not suffered from it yet, as he's never been exposed, even in small doses.
 

skinheaddave

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Sheri said:
You must also have poison oak as we do here - many find it worse than poison ivy...
I was under the impression that "poison oak," where you are, is just a misnomer for the bush form of poison ivy. I think you have to go further west or further south to get the "real" poison oak.

Cheers,
Dave
 

Sheri

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Interesting!

It seems as though we have;
Rhus glabra (poison sumac)
Rhus radicans (poison ivy)

I've never even heard of poison sumac before!
 

Cheshire

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I've yet to run across poison oak or poison sumac.

If I could find either of them, I'd post identification tips for them.

As I've never run across either, I don't know how to identify them.

DE3: I found a large stand of poison ivy growing near my house that displays growth forms I didn't post here, as well as berries. Pics will be up in a week or two, as time permits.

If anyone has access to stinging nettles, poison oak or sumac please post ID tips here.
 

DE3

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ivy, oak, sumac

Here's a distribution map: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=TOXIC
However, I'd argue that poison oak extends further North than indicated


Here is where things get muddy, with hybrids:
These two plants are quite similar in appearance and will often crossbreed to make a hybrid. Both have alternate, compound leaves with three leaflets. The leaves of poison ivy are smooth or serrated. Poison oak's leaves are lobed and resemble oak leaves. Poison ivy grows as a vine along the ground or climbs by red feeder roots. Poison oak grows like a bush. The greenish-white flowers are small and inconspicuous and are followed by waxy green berries that turn waxy white or yellow, then gray.
http://www.survivaliq.com/survival/app-poisonous-plants-poison-ivy-and-poison-oak.htm
 

Crotalus

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Sheri said:
I was a little surprised that Lelle has not suffered from it yet, as he's never been exposed, even in small doses.
I have acctually but it didnt bother me much then
Maybe its the same chemical setup as in nettles? If so I been exposed to those all my life
 

Ganoderma

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another one for the list is Devils Club. only by water, usually rivers, but man does it hurt. some of the indians apperantly have used it in medicine on vancouver island.

i was watching a program on TV about stinging netal and using it for muscle and joint pains such as arthritis.
 

ArachnoCrazy

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i have ran around in nettles my whole life and now i seem to become immune to them because i can pick it and play with it and i have no reaction to it any more.
 

Thoth

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I'm suprised no one mentioned in the vine form of poison ivy apears to be a hairy rope.

Lelle probably has not been exposed enough to poison ivy to develope a reaction. Oddly enough the first few times a person is exposed to poison ivy, they have no to little reaction, but those exposures serve to sensitize you to it, so subsequent exposures result in worse reactions to it. There is some thing about the oils in the plant which cause the reaction which acts as a sensitizer so you never become 'immune" to poison ivy but with repeated exposure things can get worse.
 

DE3

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Still fairly juicey looking for late summer poison ivy

 

Cheshire

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My mother swears that Virginia creeper poisons her. I've explained that it is not toxic and that she either A) Contacts poison ivy in the same vicinity that she noticed Virginia creeper since they often grow in the same place, or B) has her own unique allergy to the plant. I always correct her when she calls it "poison vine" and she keeps saying she is going to rub some on herself to prove it to me. Nevermind that I have proved it in reverse by handling it and not showing any signs of a reaction.

Is poison ivy unique to the New World? If so, I'm sort of surprised that it hasn't been introduced elsewhere.
Actually, virginia creeper contains chemicals that a select few percentages of the population may be allergic to.

Wow...so much with this thread I forgot to do. Hopefully I can find the time to do it with the little amount of time I have before winter.
 
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