Tag Archive: Poison Ivy

jewelweed cluster

Jewel Weed — A Cure for Poison Ivy [Read Instructions!]

I thought it was about time to write another post on Poison Ivy as my previous posts on poison ivy seem to continually be popular AND as my experience with poison ivy has changed.

Recently I hiked part of the Bruce Trail with a friend, a member of the Mycological Society of Toronto. (Prior to her joining, I didn’t know that Mycologists interested in wild mushrooms and other fungi.) She always shares knowledge from her Mycological forays and points out rare or unusual specimens.

However, that day was different. The information she was about to relay did not deal with fungi or wild mushrooms.

She pointed to a mass of plants about 3 feet high with little yellow flowers on them and said, “There is poison ivy there.”  [I’m thinking, “Are you kidding me? Have you read my blog posts about poison ivy? It doesn’t have little yellow flowers!”]

She continued, “That is jewel weed. Apparently it cures poison ivy. And it is typically located close to poison ivy–kind of a companion plant.” Now she didn’t know how to use the plant to cure poison ivy, she only knew that it would help, so clearly more research was required. [Here is an article on how to use jewel weed to cure poison ivy.]  I wondered about the ‘companionship’ of poison ivy and jewel weed as I have not observed that myself. [Here is an article supporting that the companionship of poison ivy and jewel weed is a folk tale/tradition and not a rule.]

My most recent  experience with poison ivy was in our ‘front yard’ where we also discovered how resilient it was. One of my boys decided to ‘take on’ the poison ivy that was adjacent to our drive. When I saw this I immediately became protective (i.e. overly cautious): “Shouldn’t we research this on the net? What are you doing with short sleeves on? etc.” But quickly I switched back into a ‘worker bee’ mode to help out. It looked like someone had tried some chemicals on this patch of ivy previously although there were a few pieces of ivy that remained. Did you know that poison ivy spreads via underground ‘runners’?

He/we dug and pulled up the runners and disposed of the ivy in the garbage. [Never, never burn poison ivy!] And then we washed everything in soap and water (including our hands even though we wore gloves).

Although we did somethings correctly, we made a few mistakes according to an article I found on the safe removal of poison ivy. We should NOT have:

  • pulled at the plant to remove it as this could disperse the harmful toxic resin into the air,
  • washed everything in soap and water PRIOR to disinfecting ourselves and our tools with mineral spirits or vinegar.

So how does poison ivy relate to the world of Training?

  • A little bit of research goes a long way. Are those old adages in your material old wives tales or are they true? Can you prove that? Or should you position them appropriately? [Hmm… that would be a great homework assignment for your students to research the validity of some old adages.]
  • Have you ‘covered all bases’? What else should you know and cover? Have you addressed all learning styles including the students that have a ‘what-if’ learning style? [If I were teaching about poison ivy, I’d definitely include a stern warning not to burn it.]
  • Always be prepared. Have you researched precautions? Do you understand what you should and shouldn’t do?  [Don’t just blindly try to deal with the situation, like the ivy, when you don’t quite understand the consequences.]

That is all for now. “Be on your toes… but keep your shoes on (especially on the trails)!”

[The hyper linked articles on poison ivy are good quick ‘reads’ so I would recommend them.]


Flickr Creative Commons Image of Jewel Weed by “Muffit” (Liz West)


This is the sign that started it all. Per a previous blog post I was amazed at  how the description of poison ivy on this sign was somewhat ambiguous, especially when the sign was set back from the trail with lots of green bushes in-between. For me, the experience illustrated an important lesson for trainers: different learning styles.


Over a month had passed and I was hiking on a different trail and came across that same sign. This time I could safely get close enough to take a picture.


But it seems poison ivy always teaches a lesson…



That’s it, a simple lesson for the day: Update your material (even when you are on vacation).

Until next time, happy hiking…


Special Additional Notes about poison ivy:

  • Notice young poison ivy leaves are reddish NOT green (and this isn’t the Fall),
  • Don’t touch or pet your dogs: they may have come in contact with poison ivy,
  • Wash (with soap and water) your hands and any skin that may have come in contact with poison ivy.


My encounter with poison ivy during a hike on the Bruce Trail illustrated how different people learn differently. Teachers, Trainers, Instructors and Educators call this one’s  ‘learning style’.

A learning style describes your preferred method of learning. Typically  those styles are: auditory (learning by hearing), visual (learning by seeing) or tactile (learning by doing).

Now, possibly you’ve all heard the poison ivy warning:  “Leaves of Three, let it be.” But what exactly does poison ivy look like? There are plenty of three leaved plants in the forest.

During my hike, I ran across a NEW sign on the Bruce Trail that described poison ivy: three leaves, shiny leaves, red stem, little yellow berries at some times during the year and other times of the year the plant is just a stick. [NOTE TO SELF: careful hiking in the early spring and late fall->watch out for ‘sticks’. ]

I think there was some sort of a picture. But I wasn’t about to climb through all the green bushes to get closer to really examine the picture.

Wild StrawberriesI continued on my hike: “Leaves of three, Leaves of three…” Until I saw some plants with leaves of three. (See picture to the right.) “ls that poison ivy?” I asked myself.

“Hmm… Reddish stem, three leaves…” But I thought the flower looked a bit like a strawberry blossom. Perhaps this plant was a wild strawberry?

And then I saw a massive patch of three leaved plants. The leaves were so shiny! It was the ‘shiny’ adjective that nailed it for me. So I took the picture at the start of this article to bring home to show to my Boy Scouts (since they have never pointed out poison ivy to me).

So when you are designing your training, try to appease each of the learning styles: auditory, visual and tactile. Slides (with text) and lecture to appeal to the auditory types while pictures, charts and diagrams to appeal to the visual types. Including discussions, exercises and experiments will appeal to the tactile learners.

Now, if you are teaching a lesson on poison ivy, avoid the tactile ‘hands-on’ approach. 😉

Until next time (stay on the trail)…

Do you know what poison ivy looks like? Which learning style helped you learn? Please share your story with us.

PS-I have searched for articles and descriptions of poison ivy and have been disappointed until I found this great post/collection of pointers to content on poison ivy.


Poison Ivy iPhone picture by Anne Cauley.

Wild Strawberries Flickr Creative Commons Image by Lewis Brown aka ‘Wiselark’.