Three Leaf Danger

poison ivy

While hiking this summer in the Smokies it is important to know your vegetation. This three leaf danger is poison ivy, or Toxicodendron radicans. A very common sight, poison ivy can be found along trails in bushy form or climbing trees like a vine. It is a flowering vine, though not a true ivy,  whose oils can cause itching and sometimes create an irritating rash. That oil is called urushiol, a clear oil in the sap of the plant. Luckily, often times in nature when dangers are presented, cures are close by. In the case of poison ivy, look around for Jewelweed or Impatiens capensis. About 20% of people have no reaction at all to the plants poisonous properties. However, your chances of rash are higher the more you are exposed to it. But why find out? Knowing how to recognize this plant can save the day. . . .and a lot of scratching.

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