Note: A different version of this post originally ran on May 18, 2010. Several people have recently told me they don't know how to identify poison ivy, so I thought rerunning this might be useful.
I'm super allergic to poison ivy (sometimes I swear I get it just by looking at it) so I taught myself how to identify it in every season.
Today, I offer these photos to help my New England readers avoid poison ivy. This is what poison ivy looks like now.
Notice the differences in the color and size of the leaves. Poison Ivy can look very different even in the same area. All of these photos were taken within roughly 1/4 mile of my house.
One thing that is consistent is the presence of three leaves in a cluster. Usually those leaves are shiny. Sometimes those leaves are mostly green.
Other times the leaves are more red. (Especially when they are first sprouting in the spring).
Sometimes it grows low to the ground like in the photos above. Other times it climbs up posts, signs, and trees as in these photos:
This one is about 3 feet tall.
This one climbs about 20 feet into the tree.
These last two photos are NOT poison ivy. This vine is sometimes confused with Poison ivy because it climbs the same way and has similar shaped leaves.
But look closely... there are 5 leaves in each cluster and the leaves are more jagged.
One final tip: poison ivy thrives along the edges. That is, in the area where one ecosystem transitions to another. For example, some of these photos were taken along the edge of a field where it transitions into forest (in partial to full sun), others along the edge of a brook (in partial sun), still others along the edge of a road (in full shade). Also watch for it along the edges of parks, paths, or trails.
Do you know how to identify Poison Ivy? Do you have any other tips?
Flora and Fauna on Salina.
Salina is one of the Aeolian Islands just north of Sicily and was our final destination before returning home. Here’s an assortment of plants (and one animal) we saw while there. #Nature #travel
While we were in Sicily, we went up Mt. Etna- the largest and most active volcano in Europe. We drove most of the way up, then took a cable car, and finally, a Unimog took us up to the newest craters at about 10,000 feet (3000 m). The temperatures were much cooler at that higher altitude, which was a welcome break from the heat wave that covered most of Western Europe that week. We saw several ladybugs (ladybirds) and learned that in July, the mountaintop is orange from the number of ladybugs present. #travel #nature #volcano
Taormina is set into a hillside, so many of the houses have spectacular views of the sea. Our rental was no exception. Taormina is also home to The Greek Theatre which overlooks both the gorgeous coastline and the cone of Mt. Etna. Construction on the theatre likely started in the third century BCE and was later renovated by the Romans, probably during the rule of Trajan or Hadrian in the second century CE. What’s really cool is that shows still happen there regularly in the summer months. They were setting up for one when we visited. The roads in Taormina are often steep and always narrow, even on two-way streets. Drivers spend much of their time backing up or looking for a place to get out of the way so cars can pass. #travel #history
(Image of a flower on Gozo)
Lest you think our vacation was all fun and games, we’re going to take a break from our regularly scheduled program to talk about the less fun aspects of our recent trip.
1. My son got stung by a fire worm while we were SCUBA diving.
2. We had to bring my daughter to the E.R. in Malta when she developed a whole body rash with redness and swelling in her face/ lips. (The rash lasted for a week). 3. My good SLR camera bag (complete with camera and lenses) got left in a taxi.
4. The mosquitos are on steroids or something because we all got welts unlike from the mosquitoes here. I’m STILL scratching more than a week later.
5. My husband and daughter came down with a rather unpleasant stomach bug within hours of getting home.
FYI: Everyone is fine now and my camera was recovered.
None of this was fun. We obviously didn’t want it to happen. But so much of travel is about attitude. You have to look on the bright side. Neither the sting nor the rash were life threatening. (And that ER trip cost us a grand total of 47.50). My camera was returned, but even if it hadn’t been, it’s just “stuff.” We were there for experiences.
These stories aren’t unique. The last time we went to Sicily, we all got scabies. When my husband and I were in Niger with my sister, we could have been seriously injured (or worse) when our car broke down in the bush and a whole bunch of scary stuff ensued. (It’s WAY too long of a story for insta). In Morocco, we got a very bad case of “Travelers D” while on a camel trek. I could go on.
None of this dissuades us from travel. Most of this stuff could happen to us anywhere, even right here at home.
And plus... we end up with good stories to tell when we get back.
Our final day in the country of Malta was spent on the main island (also called Malta) in Valletta, the capital. I found the architecture particularly interesting. And, how could you not love the blue of the water and sky when seen through that arch? #travel
Thanks to @Middleborough Public Library for hosting me today. I love this mural outside of the children’s room! (Photo taken by my sister). #FlyingDeep
A final sampling of photos from Gozo.
The country of Malta has a long and interesting history. There are Neolithic sites that date back more than 5, 000 years on both Gozo and Malta and evidence of various conquerors from the Phoenicians to the Romans to the Arabs can be felt there. In the late 1700’s, Napoleon took over the islands only to be defeated by the British shortly after. The British ruled until 1964 when Malta became an independent nation. As a result, the Maltese drive on the left side of the road and there are two national languages: English and Maltese.
First three photos: Gjantija Temples, UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating from 3600 BCE #travel #history #nature
Capers and caper berries.
Did you know that the little things we eat called capers are actually the buds of this plant before they bloom? The best ones are reportedly the small ones that are harvested early in the morning before the blazing sun gets up. Most of the capers for sale here in the U.S. are preserved in brine, but I prefer the ones preserved in straight sea salt. Salina is known for these and even has a caper festival in early June.
Caper plants grow all over Gozo, Malta, Sicily, and Salina. The plants especially like rocky edges. If you let the flower bloom, the berry that follows can also be preserved in brine and eaten like the capers (second to last photo. Sorry it’s blurry). #travel #mediterraneanfood
Our rental on Gozo was in a farming area, so we awoke each morning to the scents and sounds of cows. The first image is our street. Our place was behind that wall on the left. Behind where I was standing is the farms. From our rooftop, we could see the cow barns, hay fields, Basilica, and Citadel. #travel #farmhouse
We returned home from vacation to find our veggie garden thriving. (Thank goodness for soaker houses and timers). We’ve already eaten several zucchini and summer squash, salad made with assorted greens and added fresh basil to our pasta. I also predict a marathon pesto making session happening this week! (I may have gone a little overboard with the basil). #nature #vegetablegardening