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Rhus radicans - L.

Common Name Poison Ivy
Family Anacardiaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards This plant contains toxic substances and skin contact with it can cause severe irritation to some people[11]. The sap is extremely poisonous[11]. The sap contains 3-N pentadecycatechnol. Many people are exceedingly sensitive to this, it causes a severe spreading dermatitis. The toxins only reach the skin if the plant tissues have been damaged, but even indirect contact can cause severe problems[200].
Habitats Woods, on rocky slopes and in wooded swamps[43].
Range Eastern N. America - Quebec to Florida, west to Texas..
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Rhus radicans Poison Ivy


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Llez
Rhus radicans Poison Ivy
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Llez

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Rhus radicans is a deciduous Climber growing to 2.5 m (8ft 2in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from September to November. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

R. toxicodendron. non L. Toxicodendron radicans. (L.)Kuntze. T. vulgare.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil
Edible Uses: Oil

None known

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Hepatic  Skin  Tonic

Poison ivy has occasionally been used medicinally, though it is an extremely poisonous plant and great caution should be exercised. Any herbal use should only be undertaken under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See also the notes above on toxicity. This plant has been used in the past by physicians in the treatment of paralysis and liver disorders[222]. A decoction of the leaves has been used as a tonic and rejuvenator[257]. The whole or the broken leaves have been rubbed over the skin to treat boils and skin eruptions[257]. The leaves have been rubbed on skin that has been affected by a poison ivy reaction[257].

References

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Other Uses

Dye  Ink  Mordant  Oil

The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant[169]. An oil is extracted from the seeds[4]. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke[4]. An excellent marking ink is obtained from this plant[11].

Special Uses

References

Cultivation details

Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun[11, 200]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A fast-growing but short-lived species in the wild[22]. It has brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds[200]. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus[11]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. The plant has a semi-climbing habit and produces aerial roots[11], and occasionally reaches the size of a small tree[229]. Many of the species in this genus, including this one, are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs[1, 4]. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists[200]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

References

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 - 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors[200]. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[200]. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78, 200]. Suckers in late autumn to winter[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

1143200

Links / References

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Readers comment

David Beaulieu   Fri May 26 2006

Poison Ivy Plants Information about poison ivy plants. Resources include pictures of poison ivy plants and methods for their eradication.

mike ryan   Thu Aug 7 2008

hi wondering if it is possible to get seed of poison ivy

isabelle   Mon Apr 20 2009

is its reproductive mechanism

   Mar 29 2011 12:00AM

DO NOT PLANT this plant! DO NOT GET SEEDS even if you can! For all you lucky Europeans that do not have to deal with this plant and are not aware, this plant is EXTREMELY dangerous to most people who get a SEVERE skin reaction when they touch ANY part of this plant. Any suggestions above for its medicinal uses seem extremely suspicious to me. Even for the small percentage of people that are not allergic to this plant they can become allergic with repeated exposure. I know, its happened to me. This plant is very hardy and difficult to exterminate. Burning this plant and inhaling the smoke will cause a sever reaction in your lungs which could them to collapse! The closest thing I could imagine that Europe has to this is Stinging nettles but those pale in comparison to the terrible effects of Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac. I'm sure this plant has uses and does provide food for birds over the winter but so do many other plants. Keep away from poison ivy!

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