Poison ivy autumn Images, Stock Photos & Vectors

Where Poison Ivy Grows

Poison ivy is native to the eastern United States and eastern Canada; therefore, by definition, it can’t be considered invasive there, even though it spreads aggressively even in that region. But it could be invasive in regions to which it has been introduced. Poison ivy is not fussy about sun and soil conditions, which is one reason why it is such a successful weed.

Fall Foliage: Orange

The Spruce / David Beaulieu

The green summer color of poison ivy’s foliage yields to brilliant fall foliage in red, yellow, or orange. The autumn brilliance of poison ivy’s foliage is due to the anthocyanin pigments characteristic of the plant family to which poison ivy belongs. Poison oak and poison sumac turn similarly colorful shades in fall. All three plants are members of the cashew family (Anacardiaceae). The color in autumn is as breathtaking as it is on any of the trees grown for their colorful fall foliage.

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Things You’ll Need

  • Photos or images to carry with you to aid identification––use your smartphone or similar device for easy photo retrieval
  • First aid treatments for poison plant rashes especially when walking in nature, hiking or camping
  • Degreaser, such as dish-washing detergent not diluted, or a specialized soap for poison plants (not ordinary soap)

California Pacific Poison Oak and Its Rash

This is about the Pacific poison oak that grows th

This is about the Pacific poison oak that grows throughout California

(There is an Atlantic poison oak in the southeast, but it is just about the same as poison ivy.)

California ONLY has Pacific poison oak, other than a tiny bit of western poison ivy plants in the north.

Pacific poison oak grows as:

1. A ground vine, common along roads.

2. A climbing vine, going up trees and walls. Note that Pacific poison oak wraps around trees, whereas poison ivy has hairy roots that attach. So poison ivy is a better climber than Pacific poison oak.

3. A shrub. You see tons of shrub-style poison oak in California, including this photo, right next to welcome signs in a state park!

Some think the rash from poison oak is nastier than from poison ivy, but it is basically the same stuff: urushiol oil that penetrates the skin, then sends your body’s immune system into an overdrive, which produces the redness, bubbles, and the worst itch you have ever had.

For a mild rash, ignore it or go to the drug store for a remedy such as hydrocortisone cream; for a bad case get to the dermatologist. For a REALLY BAD CASE near the eyes, get to the ER!

The rash is not an infection, but if you scratch it you can GET an infection.

Here is more information about Pacific poison oak. 

Here is information about Atlantic poison oak.

Poison Ivy – Poison Oaks Rash Treatments

The rash from poison ivy, poison oak, or poison su

The rash from poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac is the same rash

For a minor rash, either try to ignore it or see what the drug store has to offer. Many find relief from Zanfel.

For a large, or a fluid filled rash, you should see a dermatologist. Remember: the rash is an ALLERGIC reaction, not an infection. But if the skin opened, it can become an infection. Family physicians can help you avoid this.

For anything around the eyes or in other very sensitive areas we suggest getting right to the emergency room or medical clinic even if you’re otherwise in good health.

POISON IVY HOME REMEDIES

For very bad cases, Prednisone is prescribed, but we are advised that you must take the entire prescription and not stop if the rash eases up.

Even though the rash is an alllergic reaction, Benedryl is, for some reason, not that effective. But you can try it.

The poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac rash is about the itchiest thing most people ever experience. Some have said that a very hot shower will stop the itching long enough to sleep for a while. Some say that aluminum deodorant or an oatmeal bath eases the rash. A home remedy such as these seems fairly harmless as long as you don’t use water so hot you burn your skin.

You can also try soaking in an oatmeal bath and applying calamine lotion or a paste made from baking soda and water if the rash isn’t too severe. Other over-the-counter products may work.

Some people have had luck with soaking a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and applying it to the rash 3-4 times a day.

Normally, the rash lasts for 2 – 3 weeks, depending on the severity and whether you get medical treatment.

Here is more information about the rash.

Prognosis of Poison Ivy: Climate Change Is Making It More Toxic

Could poison ivy get even worse than it is already is? Yes, it could. Thanks to a warming environment with more carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, poison ivy plants are growing larger, and urushiol, the sap that causes the itchy rash, is becoming more potent. Poison ivy's range is also expanding north into Canada. Because higher CO2 levels favor vines over trees, giant poison ivy plants are climbing to the tops of forest canopies, killing trees and threatening whole forests.

Learn More About the Effects of Climate Change on Poison Ivy

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