Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron radicans or Rhus radicans, is the vine everyone needs to know so they can avoid! It is known world wide for its toxic oil, urushiol, that can give you a nasty rash whether you directly touch it or not, the oil can last on any surface up to five years.
Poison Ivy Sources:
Brill, Steve. Wild Edibles Plus. Computer Software. WinterRoot LLC. Version 1.5. 2012. Web. Feb. 15, 2014.
Felter, Harvey Wickes, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D. King’s American Dispensatory, Vol. 2. Cincinnati: The Ohio Valley Company, 1905. pg. 1666-1675
Foster, Steven and James A. Duke. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. 2nd. ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Print. pg. 337-338
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses- A 400 Year History. North Carolina: Herald Publishing. 1975. Print. pg. 41
Herrick, James William. Iroquois Medical Botany. Ph.D. Thesis, New York: State University of New York, Albany 1977. Print. pg. 54, 111, 128, 172, 189, 191-192, 219
Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland: Timber Press. 1998. Print. pg. 564
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. Print. pg. 330-331
Peterson, Lee Allen. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants; Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977. Print. pg. 182-183
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web.
Hey Michael, I wondered what good use poison ivy had and was told the berries provided good food for the birds. Is that correct?
Birds and a lot of wildlife eat both the berries and the leaves and it does not effect them. The plant is actually high in nutritional values but the urushiol oil in it is toxic to us. Some people eat the spring leaves as a way to build up their immunity, I wouldn’t try it! In the past some homeopathic remedies used poison ivy to help cure the poison ivy rash (fighting fire with fire), probably not a wise idea. The Asian cousin of poison ivy was used to make candle wax and a lacquer. Thanks for the comment, I hope this answered your question.