The Forest Floor
Part II - Be careful!
Watch where you step...
Plants do not like to be stepped on, and some don't want to be touched! They let us know by growing thorns to protect themselves or chemicals that can cause some of us to have an allergic reaction, like Poison Ivy! It's important to know what plants in your area might be harmful to touch so you can be safe while adventuring.
Poison Ivy is one plant to watch out for in many areas. In winter and early spring, it looks like a vine with fine "hairs" growing on it. Once it warms up, the leaves unfurl, which makes it a bit easier to notice. Poison Ivy has 3 leaves (technically they are leaflets, but we'll get to that in one of our more advanced lessons). There is often a bit of reddish color in the center of the leaflets.
It's interesting to know that humans are the only animals in North America who have an allergic reaction to this plant. Poison Ivy also usually grows in areas where humans have disturbed the ground. Some people think that this plant is protecting the earth around it from humans. It certainly helps us to slow down and be more careful where we are stepping and how we are handling plants. Perhaps Sir Cumberbun was right to keep a respectful distance and refer to her as Madame Ivy.
Are there plants near your home you need to watch out for?