I was out on a nature trail, with a friend and former co-worker fairly recently, talking about native and naturalized plants. She pointed to a plant by my foot and asked in a slightly worrisome voice if it was poison ivy. I told her I was not one hundred percent certain, but if a plant has “leaves of three, let it be.” Poison ivy, oak, and sumac are all potentially toxic. That was a perfectly good answer and I should have stopped talking right then and there, but I did not.
“I have never had poison ivy,” I said somewhat boastfully, “I could lay in it and not suffer ill effect.”
If I had been listening, I would have heard the good Lord say “Well, well, well.”
A few weeks later, while in Pennsylvania, guess what? I have the most irritating rash from my ankles to my chin. Six weeks, an ocean of calamine lotion, a gazillion dollar per ounce tube of Zanfell, and a box of Benadryl later, I am a much more humble gardener. I have real empathy for everyone who has ever had (or ever will have) a reaction to these plants apoteksv.se. And I am inspired to learn about a plant in a way I have never been before, because I plan on never getting poison ivy again!
Did I just hear laughter?