Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wild Fact: Poison Ivy

The phrase “leaves of three, let it be” helps people to identify and subsequently avoid poison ivy. This woody vine creeps across the ground and often climbs, sometimes growing branches that look like part of a tree. Thick, older vines appear hairy since they have aerial roots. An oil called urushiol is responsible for the rash that results from touching any part of the plant.

As much as you may fear getting poison ivy, don’t be too quick to get rid of it in your yard. Many gamebirds, songbirds, and mammals eat poison ivy berries, which ripen in the fall and persist into the winter, when other foods are scarce.

WILD Fact is a regular feature written by Linda May, a wildlife interpretive specialist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Re
sources Division based at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, Georgia.

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