Nathan and I got out and did a little geocaching this morning. It was our first time out in a while. There it was, everywhere–lush and menacing. It’s our good friend poison ivy.
Poison ivy can be tough to identify because it’s so variable in appearance. It can be ground cover, a vine, or a shrub. The leaves can have smooth edges, or they can have indentations. It can be nearly any color of red or green. The only guarantees are 1) poison ivy always grows in groups of three leaves; and 2) poison ivy leaves are never serrated. (They can be lobed or toothed, but they’re never sharp, numerous, and regular like a saw blade.)
There are great sites here and here for helping you identify poison ivy. They also give tips for if you think you’ve been exposed, and there are some really gnarly rash pictures to be had too, if that’s your thing.
I’ve never seen it like this so early. It’s mid-May, and it looks like late July out there. I hate to think how it’s going to progress this year. Fellow cachers and anyone else who plays outside regularly, please be careful.
Photograph by Marilyn S. Chase.