July 20, 2013

Avoid poisonous plants

Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are common and nasty plants in all parts of Virginia. Some folks swear that they are not allergic to these plants, but I am not one of them. I even got a severe case of contact dermatitis from the herb tansy when I pulled out the invasive plants that had taken over a herb garden in New Jersey years ago.

So learn how to identify them BEFORE you work in your yard or take a walk in the woods. Poison ivy has been very prolific in my area of Williamsburg this year. I hate to resort to Roundup, but it is on my weekend schedule again.

Below is a good shot of poison ivy in summer and later in the fall when it turns a brilliant red. Do not confuse it with the Virginia Creeper vine which has five leaves, not three, except at its beginning.



Below is a good photo of poison oak. Note that the leaf edges are lobed and not pointy like poison ivy.


Finally, learn what poison sumac looks like although you only find it in swampy locations. The red stems are a good hint. It also turns red in the fall.