Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy) [Rhus radicans]

Commonly growing as a low-lying shrub or arborescent (woody) climbing vine, Poison Ivy is infamous or the dermatitis it causes. Touching the plant causes long-lasting rashes due to the oil urushiol (which is not water soluble, washing only spreads it) found all throughout this plant. Burning this plant also releases the volatile oils, which can cause similar symptoms.

Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy) [Rhus radicans]
Deciduous: yes
Hardiness Zones: 4-10
Height: 1-3 feet tall without vines
Diameter: 1-3 feet across typically
Growth Rate: moderate to fast, considered a ‘weed’
Age: perennial
Root System: aerial on vines rhizomes in the soil
Family: Anacardiaceae
Subspecies: none cultivated

Tolerates: drought, competing vegetation
Problems (major): Toxins, invasive
Problems (minor): none
Poisonous: Contact with the foliage (primarily) can cause an allergic reaction in dermatitis. Burning this plant will result in somewhat poisonous fumes

Soil requirements: tolerate of most soil conditions
Air requirements: not sufficiently researched
Watering requirement: moderate, grows in most regions where rainfall isn’t extreme
Sun requirement: full sun (grows as a low-lying shrub) or partial shade (grows on substrates, such as trees, with larger, lighter green leaves)

Leaf shape: compound with three leaflets, the two axial have one growth that makes them look like mittens, the terminal leaflet has one growth on each side
Leaf size: each of the three leaflets may grow to 3 centimeters (1 inch) as a shrub, to 8 centimeters (3 inches) long
Flower structure: greenish-white, small
Flowering frequency: May-July
Fruit: creamy or yellow white drupes (berries), occur in summer, persist into winter
Monocot/Dicot: dicot
Annual/Biennial/Perennial: perennial

Notable characteristics:
The foliage occurs in pairs of three leaflets, and the growing habit changes from stayinga low-lying shrub to a climbing vine depending upon light availability.

Very few benevolent uses aside from research exist.

Sources used:

DSC07901 DSC07902 DSC07903

All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.


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