OISON-IVY, poison-oak, and poison sumac remind most people of painful experiences to be avoided, yet many do not know any one of the offending plants or their equally poisonous relatives. Learning to recognize them on sight is relatively easy, especially by examining the distinctive identifying characters described in the pictures and legends of this bulletin. There is then a good chance to avoid them or, if one must work among them, to take preventive measures to escape poisoning.
These plants are very common throughout the United States. They are found in fields and woods, along fence rows, rock walls, and hedges, in lawns and gardens, and even sometimes vining on houses. Usually in any one locality it is necessary to be certain of the identity of only two or three of them. Maps show at a glance where they are likely to be found. Frequent observation and recognition of the plants as they are encountered almost daily is the best way to become poison-oak or poison-ivy conscious. Nonpoisonous sumacs are easily distinguished from the poisonous species by the seed heads and leaves.
The old proverb, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is good advice to everyone, particularly as regards ivy-poisoning. Previous escape is not proof of immunity when conditions are right, and after poisoning occurs there is no quick cure known. Some relief may be obtained and recovery hastened by use of some of the tested remedies. In case of severe poisoning a physician should be consulted.
Poison-ivy and other poisonous plants growing in grounds frequented by people should be eradicated. In some places this can be done by careful grubbing. In others weed-killing chemicals may be better and more certainly would avert poisoning for most of us.