SCIENTIFIC NAME: Toxicodendron radicans
COMMON NAME(S): Poison ivy
FAMILY: ANACARDIACEAE - Cashew family
ORIGIN: Eastern North America and east Asia
HABITAT: Disturbed woods
CHARACTERISTICS: Climbing stems produce aerial roots
LEAVES: Alternate, pinnate, feather-like, with three leaflets (rarely 5 or 7), one terminal and two lateral, sometimes all 3 radiating from same point; leaflets 1-6" long, 1/2-4" wide, toothed along margins, pointed at tip
FLOWERS: Yellowish-green to pale green, in branched-clusters from junctions of leaves; separate male and female plants
FLOWERING SEASON: Spring
FRUITS: Berry-like, fleshy when young, round, yellowish-white, 1-seeded.
ALLERGENIC PRINCIPLES: Urushiol
ALLERGENIC PROPERTIES: Dermatological, respiratory
COMMENTS: The oily sap of this plant infuses all parts and occurs on their surfaces, and is thus readily contacted. Itching and burning of the skin, followed by redness, swelling and blistering are typical symptoms occurring hours or sometimes days after contact. Individuals who are not sensitive at first contact can develop sensitivity after repeated exposure. The smoke of the burning plant can carry the toxins and cause respiratory distress as well as the typical dermatitis.