I would be surprised if every child in America didn’t grow up reciting the mneumonic about poison ivy “Shiny Leaves of three, let them be” from an early age. But visitors to NYC may have read about poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac, all containing a rather nasty poisonous oil, Urushiol, but they may not know what poison ivy looks like. Or indeed where they are likely to come in contact with it.
It’s in all NYC’s wilder parks and wilderness areas like , though not places like Central Park. In video one a park ranger shows poison ivy growing up the trunk of a tree and it’s as well to know that it can clump into a shrub as well. If you touch it and get the oil on your fingers or other body parts and you don’t wash it off immediately you’ll get a rather nasty, stinging rash which lasts for several weeks.
NYC’s Parks and wilderness areas are very beautiful during fall and you will be delighted and amazed by what you see and experience in them. However poison ivy is everywhere and frankly I wouldn’t be wearing short shorts when taking a walk in amongst all the trees in case I rubbed up against some accidently.
This plant can look glorious too in fall because their normally bright green leaves turn very attractive shades of yellow and red. The plant is not out to get you, it’s oil is not a defensive mechanism but while there are some lucky humans who don’t react to it most of us get the sores if it stays on our skin for longer than a few minutes.
See video two on how to safely get rid of the oil off your skin if you touch some poison ivy.
If going on a prolonged wilderness walk which is a terrific thing to do while visiting, take some prednisone in your emergency supplies so you are prepared if you accidently touch this plant. The danger time is not daytime because once you know what the leaves look like and you have memorized the mneumonic you will get used to looking out for it.
Nightime is the danger time because it will be very hard for you to pick it out. So really watch where you are going in the dark and pay attention to what what you touch.