Wilderness Survival: Spot The Chameleon – Poison Ivy!

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is one of the greatest plant chameleons you’ll encounter in your travels. The same plant can appear to be a small herbaceous plant when young, a small tree or carpet of vines when several years old, and a massive hairy vine after a decade’s growth. Contact with any plant part from this species will cause a severe rash on most people. Burning any part of this plant will send the irritant airborne, which can cause even more harm.

Poison Ivy contains a phenolic substance called urushiol, which is responsible for contact dermatitis in roughly two million people in the U.S. each year. For your best chance to stay out of this plants reach, remember the old saying “leaves of three, let them be” and commit these pictures to memory.

These tips and many more survival tips are in MacWelch’s books: Prepare For Anything – the Hunting & Gathering Survival Manual – and How To Survive Anything

Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch

And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.

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