Common Name
Poison ivy
Botanic Name
Toxicodendron radicans (Rhus)
Plant Family
Animals Affected
Animals are not affected by poison ivy. People are primarily sensitive to the irritant oil in the plant.
Toxic Principle
The leaves and stems contain an irritant oil called urushiol that is released from the crushed or broken surface of the leaves or stems. Smoke from burning poison ivy leaves will contain urushiol that can be very hazardous to people who inhale it as it can induce a severe reaction in the throat and lungs.
Integumentary System
Severe reddening, swelling and even blistering of the skin of people who come in contact with the irritant oil in poison ivy. Intense itching results from the acute allergic response in the skin.
Special Notes
Poison ivy is usually not a problem to animals. However, the irritant oil can be present on the hair of animals that have contacted poison ivy, and can therefore be a problem to people handling the animal. Handling of the feces of cattle, sheep or goats that eat poison ivy can also cause an allergic response.
poison ivy leaves and fruits
Poison ivy leaves in the Fall
Poison oak