Poison Ivy (Common name)

General poisoning notes:

Poison ivy (Rhus radicans; synonym Toxicodendron radicans) is a native shrub or vine found throughout southern Canada. Three recognized varieties are found in various parts of the country (Mulligan and Junkins 1977). Urushiol is the allergenic agent found in most parts of the plant. Damage to plant tissues causes the nonvolatile chemicals to be exposed. Humans are often sensitized, with symptoms ranging from mild itchiness and redness to severe oozing lesions with fever. Poison ivy is probably responsible for more cases of plant dermatitis in Canada than any other plant. Urushiol can contaminate clothes, tools, and the fur of domestic animals. Humans can subsequently develop dermatitis from contact. Humans do not contract the dermatitis on first contact, but most people are sensitized the first time (Mulligan 1990, Schwartz and Downham 1981, Gayer and Burnett 1988).

References:

  • Downham, T. F. 1986. Science has got its hands on poison-ivy, poison-oak, and poison-sumac. U.S. Dep. Agric. For. Serv. Man. N., 47: 23-28.
  • Epstein, W. L., Byers, V. S. 1981. Poison oak and poison ivy dermatitis. Prevention and treatment in forest service work. U.S. Dep. Agric. For. Serv. Rep., 14 pp.
  • Gaillard, G. E. 1956. The modern treatment of poison ivy. N. Y. State J. Med., 56:2255-2259.
  • Gayer, K. D., Burnett, J. W. 1988. Toxicodendron dermatitis. Cutis, 42: 99-100.
  • Goldsmith, M. F. 1984. Sensitivity test may aid in avoiding 'poison' plant-induced dermatitis. J. Am. Med. Assoc., 251: 1389-1390.
  • Guin, J. D. 1980. Reaction time in experimental poison ivy dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis, 6:289-290.
  • Mulligan, G. A., Junkins, B. E. 1977. The biology of Canadian weeds 23. Rhus radicans L. Can. J. Plant Sci., 57: 515-523.
  • Mulligan, G. A. 1990. Poison ivy. Western poison oak. Poison sumac. Agric. Can. Publ., 1699. 13 pp.
  • Schwartz, R. S. 1981. Erythema multiforme associated with Rhus contact dermatitis. Cutis, 27: 85-86.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Rhus radicans L.
Vernacular name(s):
poison ivy
Scientific family name:
Anacardiaceae
Vernacular family name:
cashew

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Rhus radicans

References:

  • Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada. Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.
  • Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.
  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.
  • Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.
  • Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

References:

  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063. 94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or illustration

Images: poison ivy - Google Search

Toxic parts:

  • all parts
  • leaves
  • plant juices

References:

  • Gayer, K. D., Burnett, J. W. 1988. Toxicodendron dermatitis. Cutis, 42: 99-100.
  • Goldsmith, M. F. 1984. Sensitivity test may aid in avoiding 'poison' plant-induced dermatitis. J. Am. Med. Assoc., 251: 1389-1390.
  • Mulligan, G. A., Junkins, B. E. 1977. The biology of Canadian weeds 23. Rhus radicans L. Can. J. Plant Sci., 57: 515-523.
  • Mulligan, G. A. 1990. Poison ivy. Western poison oak. Poison sumac. Agric. Can. Publ., 1699. 13 pp.
  • Schwartz, R. S. 1981. Erythema multiforme associated with Rhus contact dermatitis. Cutis, 27: 85-86.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Urushiol, a group of alkylcatechols, is found in the sap of poison-ivy plants. The allergic reaction has been traditionally thought to involve initial oxidation by which a protein-reactive quinone is formed. Recent work indicates that redox cycling in the skin, following penetration of the allergenic alkybenzenes, initially depletes local levels of endogenous-reducing equivalents such as NADH and glutathione. Further cycling results in the uncontrolled generation of radical species that exhibit protein reactivity. The urushiol is not volatile and can contaminate clothing, tools, and domestic animals. Under dry conditions, the chemical can remain harmful for long periods (Mulligan 1990,Schmidt et al. 1990).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • urushiol oil
  • 3-pentadecyl catechol

References:

  • Downham, T. F. 1986. Science has got its hands on poison-ivy, poison-oak, and poison-sumac. U.S. Dep. Agric. For. Serv. Man. N., 47: 23-28.
  • Gaillard, G. E. 1956. The modern treatment of poison ivy. N. Y. State J. Med., 56:2255-2259.
  • Gayer, K. D., Burnett, J. W. 1988. Toxicodendron dermatitis. Cutis, 42: 99-100.
  • Goldsmith, M. F. 1984. Sensitivity test may aid in avoiding 'poison' plant-induced dermatitis. J. Am. Med. Assoc., 251: 1389-1390.
  • Mulligan, G. A., Junkins, B. E. 1977. The biology of Canadian weeds 23. Rhus radicans L. Can. J. Plant Sci., 57: 515-523.
  • Mulligan, G. A. 1990. Poison ivy. Western poison oak. Poison sumac. Agric. Can. Publ., 1699. 13 pp.
  • Schmidt, R. J., Khan, L., Chung, L. Y. 1990. Are free radicals and not quinones the haptenic species derived from urushiols and other contact allergenic mono-and dihydride alkylbenzenes? Dermatol. Res., 282: 56-64.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

References:

  • Downham, T. F. 1986. Science has got its hands on poison-ivy, poison-oak, and poison-sumac. U.S. Dep. Agric. For. Serv. Man. N., 47: 23-28.
  • Epstein, W. L., Byers, V. S. 1981. Poison oak and poison ivy dermatitis. Prevention and treatment in forest service work. U.S. Dep. Agric. For. Serv. Rep., 14 pp.
  • Gayer, K. D., Burnett, J. W. 1988. Toxicodendron dermatitis. Cutis, 42: 99-100.
  • Goldsmith, M. F. 1984. Sensitivity test may aid in avoiding 'poison' plant-induced dermatitis. J. Am. Med. Assoc., 251: 1389-1390.
  • Guin, J. D. 1980. Reaction time in experimental poison ivy dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis, 6:289-290.
  • Mulligan, G. A., Junkins, B. E. 1977. The biology of Canadian weeds 23. Rhus radicans L. Can. J. Plant Sci., 57: 515-523.
  • Mulligan, G. A. 1990. Poison ivy. Western poison oak. Poison sumac. Agric. Can. Publ., 1699. 13 pp.
  • Schwartz, R. S. 1981. Erythema multiforme associated with Rhus contact dermatitis. Cutis, 27: 85-86.

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