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Poison Ivy Vine
Did you see the mysterious mystery posted yesterday? Did you use the pictures and clues to solve it?
Well, the answer to the mystery is ... Poison Ivy!
Not only does this plant grow as “leaves of three,” but another way to identify poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is by the hairy vine as well! These vine runners help the poison ivy plant to climb trees, fences, telephone poles, and other structures in order to find sunlight. Called “aerial roots,” the hairy appearance of the poison ivy vine is distinctive to this plant. It’s also one way to identify the plant year-round, as even when the leaves are gone in the winter, the hairy vine stays the same.
But be careful… even though the plant may be dormant in the winter, you should still avoid touching! Majority of people have itchy or painful skin reactions after touching this plant. Poison ivy contains an oil called urushiol, which can cause rashes and/or blisters. This oil is still present when the plant is dormant, and even when it’s dead.
Although the poison ivy plant can cause issues for humans, it is wonderful for wildlife. Birds, deer, rabbits, raccoons, and so many more animals use poison ivy as a food source. If you have room in your yard to consider keeping a section of wild-growing poison ivy, wildlife will thank you! Identification is key in keeping safe with poison ivy, so be sure that everyone on the property knows where it is and what it looks like.
Consider these phrases as you learn about the plant.
"Side leaflets shaped like mittens, itch like the dickens."
:A hairy vine is no friend of mine."
"Longer middle stem, don’t touch them."
And the classic... "Leaves of three, leave it be."
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