Poison Ivy: The Furry Plant

Posted by on May 9, 2013 in adaptations, plant parts, Unmowed Blog | 5 comments

There’s an old saying: “Hairy vine, a danger sign.”

And this is a really hairy vine. The fuzzy pelt on this vine is the sure indicator of poison ivy. And yes, you can get a rash from the vine–from almost all parts of the plant, in fact—root, fruit, stem, and leaf.

Although the plant looks furry enough to be a mammal, of course it isn’t really hair; all that fuzzy stuff on the vine is made up of a dense mat of aerial rootlets. They absorb oxygen and help the plant clamber up the tree, making its way to new heights to absorb more sunshine. Another reason why poison ivy is a highly successful plant.

Thanks to George Steele for this amazing picture, taken at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.poison ivy vine aerial rootlets


  1. Thanks for the useful tip, altho I’m getting itchy just looking at it!!!

    • I just love poison ivy, although it makes me itchy, too.

      • U may just be the only person on the planet to feel that way!!! 🙂

      • I hope not! I have a book on PI coming out next year–I hope to convince the world of its virtues.

      • Sounds fascinating, actually. Good luck!!!

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