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Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions

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BRIEF: What could have caused my rash?



ANSWER:

We get calls and mail from Westchester County about this problem occasionally. So far it has always been poison ivy. Lots of people get a rash from Virginia creeper, too. Poison Ivy can take some pretty odd-looking forms of growth (including underground stems and vines) that don't look like the classic shrub you learned about at summer camp! If you really don't think it is poison ivy, send me some and I'll look at it. Do you get black stains on your gloves(or heaven forbid) your hands? That can be the oxidized, polymerized urushiol toxin from poison ivy leaves, stems, vines and roots.
QUESTION:
I am currently suffering from a severe rash which I am sure is caused by a particular weedy vine in my garden. I am unable to identify the plant. A friend thought it was bittersweet or a nightshade family plant, but it doesn't look like the plants of those names pictured on your web site. Can you tell me where I could take or send a sample of this plant for identification? I live in Westchester County.