This week I caught up with Chatham County Horticulture Extension Agent Matt Jones to discuss poison ivy. I’m strictly of the opinion that the only good poison ivy is dead poison ivy … or maybe the poison ivy that’s still growing over in your neighbor’s house who you don’t like. LOL. But Matt reminded me there are some good things that come of the weedy native vine.
According to the Smithsonian, “Poison ivy fruits, called drupes, are an important food for birds. Deer and insects eat the leaves. People think of it as a weed but in an ecological sense it is an early successional plant that is mostly found in disturbed areas.”
As a hater of the allergic reaction my husband has to the urushiol oil in poison ivy’s sap, but a friend of nature, I find myself vacillating between leaving it alone at the back of the property and mowing it down like Bill Duke in Predator. Maybe we could get a goat like we saw at the Louvre who’s sole purpose would be poison ivy eater. Hmm …
For more information
- North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox | Toxicodendron radicans
- University of Georgia Extension Office | Controlling Poison Ivy in the Landscape
- Smithsonian Insider | A poison ivy primer
- FDA | Outsmarting Poison Ivy and Other Poisonous Plants
- American Skin Association | Poison Ivy, Sumac and Oak
- Technu | Original Outdoor Skin Cleanser
- Chatham News & Record | Evil has a name, and it is poison ivy
- Reader Question | Which Tecnu product do you use?
And finally, I have it on good authority that Matt Jones will be developing a video for poison ivy this summer. I’ll post it when it’s available, but until then, check out the Chatham County Cooperative Extension Office for all things agriculture and natural resources.