When taking a nice hike through the dunes at Crane’s Beach, I was surprised to find poison ivy everywhere! It was flourishing among the evergreens and sand, sometimes growing by itself in the middle of the sandy path. Wow – this is a resilient plant! Here it grew not as the vine most hear about but as a shrub. Remember, it can be found throughout the Eastern US, and like the dandelion, it grows everywhere from the city to the woods to the beach.
Poison Ivy is a plant with 3 shiny leaves. Notice how the leaves are shaped. In the pattern of 3, the outside leaves should have a smaller portion or notch on the side away from the middle leaf, like the thumb of a mitten. The middle leaf will have two of these, one on either side as if the mittens were overlapped, similar to the Hamsa or “The Hand of God”. Sometimes the leaves are shiny, but sometimes not, like after a rain. Sometimes they are red, especially when they are new or in the fall.
And the oil can stay around to bother you for a long time, so don’t just wash your hands. Wash everything that came in contact with it thoroughly as soon as you can.