By IVY LAURIE VOSS
Circulation Supervisor, Warsaw Community Public Library
WARSAW — It’s that time of year again, warm sunny days, walks in the park, and poison ivy! Would you know poison ivy if you came upon it? The side effects are a bumpy, blistery rash with intense itching that can be spread easily. How can you tell what poison ivy looks like so you can avoid it? Stop at the Warsaw Community Public Library and check out our leaf identification books. Another way is to learn these little sayings that will quickly let you know what to look for.
“Leaves of three, let it be.” Many plants have a grouping of three leaves, and are not poison ivy, but this is a great rule to go by.
“Berries white, run in fright” and “Berries white, danger in sight.” The berries are mature August through November, and are a grayish-white color.
“Red leaflets in the spring, it’s a dangerous thing.” In the spring, poison ivy tends to start as a reddish color.
“If butterflies land there, don’t put your hand there.” Butterflies will land on poison ivy, as they are not affected by it.
“Hairy vine, no friend of mine,” and “Raggy rope, don’t be a dope!” This ropey vine can become quite large.
“Longer middle stem, stay away from them.” A poison ivy plant tends to have a longer middle stem.
“Side leaflets like mittens, will itch like the dickens.” Although this doesn’t include all poison ivy, this is another tell-tale sign. This leaf will have a notch at the edge, making it appear to be shaped like a mitten with a thumb. What do you do if you run into poison ivy? The most important thing to do is wash your hands immediately.
The oil from the plant, urushoil, can also get on your clothing, so it is important to wash all clothing. Also, wash any utensils you may have used; canes, shovels, etc. Do not scratch, as it can lead to infection. Try calamine lotion or hydrocortisone creams to relieve the itching, or cool compresses. You can access medical databases at the library for more information, and to learn when you should see a doctor for treatment.
To get photos and more information on Poison Ivy, stop in at WCPL. We have the resources you need to identify not just Poison Ivy, but other poisonous plants in our beautiful woods and trails.