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Identifying Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac – Rodeo Rick’s Camping Tips

It’s Summer and many folks will be headed into the back country to spend some time with nature.  But are you as prepared to be in the woods as you should be?

One thing that can ruin any camping trip is having a run in with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac.

Nothing beats the woodland landscape, but it also contains some of summer’s greatest skin irritants – Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac.

You might not know what these three plants look like, but when it comes to nature, ignorance is not bliss.  Within 12-72 hours of touching any of these three plants, you could develop a very uncomfortable, itchy and unsightly red rash – accompanies by swelling and blisters.

The itch-inducing ingredient in all three plants is an oil called urushiol. This oil is contained in the leaves, stems and roots of these plants.  Urushiol sticks to anything that brushes up against it. So if you walk through it with jeans on, or your dog walks through it, or even if you ride through it on your bike – yep, you guessed it – you might get a rash and not know where it came from.

Even burning the plants to clear an area can be dangerous and cause the oil to become airborne, landing on skin causing a breakout.

Poison ivy, oak and sumac grow in most every region of the country, so if you’re spending time in the outdoors – you best know how to identify it.

Poison Ivy: Trademark of this plant is solid green pointed leaves that hang from stems in groups of three.  It can be found as a vine as well as a shrub.  Poison Ivy can change with the seasons and produces yellow-green flowers in the spring and the green leaves change to yellow and red in autumn.

Poison Oak:  Like its ivy counterpart, poison oak leaves also cluster in sets of three.  The edges of the solid green leaves resemble those of an oak tree.  Poison oak is most often seen in shrub form, but it can also appear as a vine.

Poison Sumac: This rash producer thrives around and in water.  It’s usually found in swampy or boggy areas where it grows as a small tree or a tall shrub.  Poison sumac leaves can have urushiol filled black or brownish-black spots.  You’ll quickly spot this threat as it contains 7 to 13 leaves per stem.

Tip #7 – Identifying Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

Poison Oak, Ivy and Sumac


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