Poison Ivy Announcement!

Just a quick little public service announcement for you human readers! This is Poison Ivy. Don’t touch it!

Poison Ivy 2

It’s a shiny three-leaflet leaf,

Poison Ivy

reddish when they are first emerging,

Poison Ivy root hairs

growing on hairy vines.

Poison Ivy vine

Straight up from the ground, across the ground, up anything vertical.

It’s the oil on all of the plant parts–even the roots–that causes blistering on skin.

Hope this helps someone stay itch-free this summer!


One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

It’s the last Sunday off for good behavior in the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Take a gander at the website, if you haven’t done so yet in April, and hop to some of the other blogs. If you’re into science, look for the ones with a ‘SC’ after their names.

And on to today’s mystery!

Mystery #87

You’re leaping along through the woods and come across a patch of these red leaves. What are they?


Back later for your guesses and the answer!


As one of our regular readers guessed, this plant is poison ivy!

Poison Ivy

The new leaves emerge red tinged, changing to a shiny green in a week as they grow to full size. Here, and in may  woodsy places around the east, the vines are traveling underground and sending up new shoots–everywhere! The oil in the leaves only seem to affect bare skin, not fur, like we squirrels have. But as many of you readers may have discovered, the oil can transfer from fur–ours or a dog’s–to bare skin and cause an allergic eruption.

So beware! If you see this red blush over the ground the spring, change your route! And encourage your dog to do the same.

By the way, if the vine you are seeing has five leaves, it’s Virginia Creeper. Leap back to some of our very popular posts on this other native vine, here.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey, we’re going to try something a little different for this Sunday’s mystery. Nutmeg and I found the worst, most awful patch of poison ivy mixed with Virginia Creeper this week. The vines were so thick and intertwined, we edged to the other side of the path and crept our way past. No way were we going up in those trees!

Vines overtaking woods

Summer seems to mean vine days in the suburbs. This is a great challenge for you human readers to sort and identify the vines—creeper or ivy. So here is a series of photos for you to try your hand at identifying which vine is in which from the safety of your home—no chance of getting the itches!

Photo #1

Mystery #62; Photo #1

Photo #2

Mystery #62; Photo #2

Photo #3

Mystery #62; Photo #3

Photo #4

Mystery #62; Photo #4

Photo #5

Mystery #62; Photo #5

Photo #6

Mystery #62; Photo #6

Later we’ll post the answers.  If you’re having a bit of trouble, check out our most popular previous posts on Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy.


Mature Poison Ivy

Hickory and I ran across this tree downed in the storm that had been cut and removed.

We noticed the base still had green leaves and on closer look, backed away—Poison Ivy.

The thick vine has clumps of the reddish root hairs we showed you before on the smaller vines. The humans did seem to know enough not to cut it and release the oils that cause the itching, but we sure high-tailed it out of there.