Thursday, April 28, 2011

You're Gonna Need an Ocean....Of Calamine Lotion!

Okay peeps, it's time for a pop quiz on spring plants! One of the pictures below depicts poison ivy. Can you guess which one it is?

Is this the poison ivy?


Nope, that's innocent wild grape. Very young shoots of poison ivy will have a similar color and shiny leaves, just like this wild grape vine. However, poison ivy has sets of three leaves.

Leaves of three,
Let it be!

Is this the poison ivy?


Nope. This is Virginia creeper, an innocent plant that is frequently mistaken for poison ivy. But hey, let's count those leaves again! Virginia creeper has leaves in sets of five, not three.

So what about this plant? Is it poison ivy?


Yes, yes it is! See the leaves in sets of three? You win a bottle of calamine lotion!

And notice how all three plants (wild grape, Virginia creeper, and poison ivy) have similarly colored leaves that are very shiny when young? Later, when the new growth is older, all three plants will looker greener and won't have shiny leaves.

So in conclusion....when in doubt, count those leaves. Poison ivy has leaves in sets of three. Virginia creeper has leaves in sets of five.


Poor, poor innocent Virginia creeper.


Not so innocent poison ivy. By now you should recognize the set of three leaves that are practically snarling, "Don't touch me!" at you.

(And now I have the Coasters stuck in my head...."You'll be scratchin like a hound the moment you start to mess around with poison iv-y-y-y-y-y, poison iv-y-y-y!")

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