Watch for these two, then don’t touch…

The return of long, sunny days definitely help motivate us all to get outdoors and enjoy nature.  It is truly a beautiful and vibrant time to be out in the woods or meadows, or to take an extended stroll along your favorite trail.  In fact, if you are looking for local options to consider, please peruse through the sites listed on my Area Nature Preserves, Parks and Trails page.

Wherever you choose to wander, please remember to recognize two particular plants and, if you do come across them, be sure to avoid touching them.  Both are beginning to bloom now and I thought this would be a good opportunity for a reminder about each.

This native shrub/vine occurs in woodlands and in thickets, but rarely in meadows.

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

The small, 5-part, greenish-yellow flowers then produce whitish berries, appearing later this summer.

In autumn, this shrub/vine displays some attractive fall color.  Clearly, this is the ONLY redeeming quality of this plant!

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy












Because of the highly variable appearance (and margins) of its leaves, it may be helpful (and wise) to generally follow this simple rule:  “With leaves of three, let it be.”

The second plant is becoming an increasing menace along many roadsides and some trail corridors, as well as in many open meadows.

Wild Parsnip

Wild Parsnip

This plant will continue to bloom for the next several weeks.

Unlike Poison-ivy, Wild Parsnip’s toxin reacts with sunlight on your skin.  That is why it is particularly important for you to remember to look for this plant before doing significant yard work along the boundaries of your lawn or along any road frontage of your property.

For more info about this plant, please refer to this information.

With all that being said, PLEASE do not avoid going back outside!  That is not my message to you!  Instead, simply be cognizant of these two rather distinctive-looking plants and avoid contact with them.

Happy trails!


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