The other side of Poison Ivy

ellenr22September 26, 2006

"as a plant it has considerable wildlife value. The white waxy berries are a popular food for songbirds during fall migration and in the winter when other foods are scare. Robins and grosbeaks especially like the berries. Many birds feed on insects hiding in the tangled vines. Small mammals and deer browse on the poison ivy foliage, twigs, and berries."


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That would explain all those seedlings popping up in random places .....

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 12:05PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

If poison ivy didn't cause rashes it would be among the most useful native plants for wildlife and landscaping. It is pretty, with shiny dark green foliage that turns a brilliant red in the fall. Birds live the berries, and many species of birds will eat them including a wide variety of warblers, vireos, and other birds that aren't usually fruit eaters. The plant grows everywhere from the coast, where it stabilizes sand dunes, to the forest where it grows up trees to form a large vine without harming the trees. It occurs in forms ranging from ground covers to shrub to climbing vine, and could probably be selected to create lots of interesting horticultural forms. Truly one of the great native plants except for one major flaw.

As it stands, I kill every scrap that shows up on my property because with the slightest brush against poison ivy I get amazing oozing painful rashes that last for weeks.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 8:50AM
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Over the years I have become much more sensitive to Poison Ivy. I still remove it in areas where I might be exposed but where it has climbed up into big trees I let it go. It is a great plant for birds and some years we even get really good fall color. I have seen huge old vines in the woods that are really spectacular.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 4:59PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

i leave the PI in my woods grow wild also but try to fight it like mad in my garden as i'm allergic too.I ve some in among a big rose bush i'm trying to fight now.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 2:00AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I manage my PI similar to what rdillem wrote. I do remove it if its near the house or near a pathway in the woods. But I let it grow where its not in a place that I am likely to come into contact with it.

And in a few spots a put a small yellow warning flag - to remind me in the winter - where it is...

I have severe reactions to it.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 9:57AM
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Indeed, I have known for sometime that it is a valuable plant for wildlife.

I kill PI wherever I find it on my farm.
But, I don't do it guilt-free.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 11:14PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

A PI story....

Last year, my son and he's friend went to the USA traveling, when they arrived home, my son had a bad skin rush, seeing the doctor, he figured it was bed bugs, we fumigated the bed, room and all!
About 2 days later, he's friend came up with a skin rush too, my son figured it all out then, traced it back to the spot in the bush they went together in the USA......a fine family doctor! LOL

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 10:37PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Ups....sorry for that rash rush misspelling!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 10:43PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

We've lived here for about 25 years. My DH always wanted to cut down all the poison ivy, but I wouldn't let him, thinking since its growing in nature, it must have a function. Well, now its growing EVERYWHERE. So I'm a little less insistent about keeping it......especially since I finally got its rash last year. Strange.....I didn't seem to be allergic to it for years and years....then suddenly I was.
Maybe I'm just ignorant......but why does it cause such a reaction? I'm trying to understand the function of this defensive mechanism. Or is it some kind of defect in our own immune systems? ........or an over-reaction of our immune systems?
I wish some of these rash-causing/problem-causing plants just weren't so prolific. But I guess that's every single organisms/plants/human's cover the earth, right??
Animals don't get the rash, right?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 11:15AM
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