poison-ivy - ROM2004_1276_8



Geography: temperate northern hemisphere
Date: Acquired by the Museum in 1996 AD
    • Attributes
    • Objects
    • Taxonomy
    • KingdomPlantae
    • PhylumMagnoliophyta
    • ClassMagnoliopsida
    • OrderSapindales
    • FamilyAnacardiaceae
    • GenusRhus
    • SpecificEpithetradicans
Object number: ROMBOT_IM_7618
Credit Line: D. Gunn
Not on view
DescriptionThis image of poison-ivy (Rhus radicans) shows a cluster of white berries beneath the leaves. The fruit, sometimes orange in colour, and the yellowish-green flowers are often hidden from view by the leaves. The fruit remains on the stem throughout the winter and is more easily seen after the leaves have dropped to the ground. Poison-ivy is found throughout most of Ontario but is more often encountered in the south. It can grow in many habitats including sand dunes, cliffs, moist woods and roadsides. Poison-ivy is a variable plant. It can grow low to the ground or climb high by using its aerial roots to cling to trees. Its leaflets may be thin or thick, light-coloured or dark. The margins or edge of the leaflets may be smooth, wavy, or have a few small lobes. However, the two lateral leaflets always have very short stalks or none at all, while the terminal leaflet has a longer stalk. The old rhyme “Leaflets three, let it be. Berries white, shun the sight” warns passers-by to leave poison-ivy alone. All parts of the poison-ivy plant contain toxic oil that can cause an allergic reaction in the form of a rash with itchy blisters in susceptible people. Sensitivity increases with exposure so people who seem to be immune may become allergic later in life. Poison-ivy oil may be carried and spread by contact with animal skin or fur, clothing, tools, and especially in the smoke and ash from burning plants. Contaminated clothing should be handled and hot-laundered by someone who is immune.
Image Collection
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