Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Poision* (for Poison*)

Drew Barrymore starred in a 1992 film called Poison Ivy. This photo isn't from that movie, but I do like her shiny green dress here, a bit like the foliage of the dreaded Toxicodendron radicans itself. According to local author Anita Sanchez, in her 2016 book In Praise of Poison Ivy: The Secret Virtues, Astonishing History, and Dangerous Lore of the World's Most Hated Plant, there was once a time when poison ivy was highly prized and its seeds "almost literally worth their weight in gold"; it would take but about an ounce of the plant's active ingredient (urushiol) to sicken thirty million people; and, while many animals eat and touch poison ivy, only humans (about 85% of us) get the itch. Birds apparently spread it, and appear to be doing so right now in downtown Albany. Which is why a friend who lives there is currently reading this book: partly out of appalled curiosity, and partly to learn how to identify the accursed thing. For most folks, poison ivy is like a distant childhood memory (remember those festive pink spots of calamine lotion?),which just goes to show how much more in touch with nature kids are than adults. Or were, anyway. Now there's probably an app for that. And if there isn't one, maybe there should be. We could call it "Poison Ivy Mon Go!" We caught ten cases of Poision* (for poison*) in OhioLINK today, plus 206 in WorldCat.

(Drew Barrymore, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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