Identify Poison Ivy & Oak + Best Natural Remedy

The saying goes "ignorance is bliss", but that's not the case when it comes to poison ivy and poison oak.  Within 12 to 72 hours of touching either of these plants, you could develop a very uncomfortable, itchy, and unsightly red rash accompanied by swelling and blisters due to urushiol.  Urushiol is the oil contained in the plants’ leaves, stems, and roots that is responsible for the plant's irritating effects.  It sticks to anything it touches, and if someone is burning the plants when you’re close by, airborne urushiol can even land on your skin, causing an itchy breakout.  Living Expression Landscapes want you to stay safe and happy while enjoying the outdoors, so please read further.

Here’s What To Look For (and steer clear of) When You’re Outside Among Plants:

"Leaves of three, beware of me!"

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy  By: John

Poison Ivy By: John

The trademarks of this plant are its solid green, pointed leaves that hang from the stem in groups of three. It grows as both a vine and a shrub. The look of poison ivy can change with the seasons. It produces yellow-green flowers in the spring and its green leaves can change to yellow and red in autumn.


Poison Oak

Like its ivy counterpart, poison oak leaves also cluster in sets of three. The edges of the solid green leaves, while reminiscent of an oak tree, are less dramatic. Poison oak is most often seen in shrub form, but it can also grow as a vine.


Natural Remedy for Poison Ivy/Oak

It's true that Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera both soothe and speed the healing process of poison ivy and oak.  But of all the natural/homemade remedies for soothing and healing their effects - Jewelweed is by far the best.  Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is best known for its skin healing properties.  The leaves and the sticky juice from the hollow stem of Jewelweed can be used as a treatment for poison ivy, oak, stinging nettle and other plant induced rashes, as well as many other types of dermatitis. Simply crush/cut open the stems and apply the sticky residue found inside to the rash 3 times a day. 

How to Identify Jewelweed & Where To Find It

Jewelweed is an annual that grows 2 - 5 feet tall in dense, leafy patches.  It has oval-shaped, tooth-edged leaves with a waxy surface coating that repels water like a newly waxed car.  It's a profuse bloomer from spring to frost with trumpet-shaped, golden-orange flowers splotched with reddish-brown that hang from the plant much like a jewel from a necklace.  You may have heard it referred to as the "Touch-Me-Not" plant because the seed pods burst when touched, which is a very cool sight to behold.

Jewelweed  By: naomivantol

Jewelweed By: naomivantol

Jewelweed  By: DM

Jewelweed By: DM

Jewelweed grows in Texas but it likes moist soil and shade.  It can be found growing wild in moist woods, often on the edge of creek beds and in ditches.  It is commonly said that wherever you find poison ivy, you will find Jewelweed, but this is not always true.  Jewelweed will not grow in dry places for long, and does not thrive in direct sunlight, whereas poison Ivy will grow in sun or shade.  If you cannot find it growing wild, then you could always cultivate it in your garden or even order fresh stems online. 

If you do find poison ivy or oak growing in your yard, then it's probably time for some yard maintenance.  Avoid the dirty work yourself and call us, Living Expression Landscapes, at 281-681-8715 to take care of your yard maintenance for you!  Not only do we maintain yards, but we design and install landscapes, hardscapes (paths, patios, etc), irrigation systems, lighting systems, water features, and more!  Check out our services page for more info.