WellesleyWeston Magazine

SUMMER 2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/506487

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16 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 5 ahh … summer, and the start of outdoor living. Just a few weedy areas to clear before lighting the barbecue, and you can relax. The cleanup is finished and then the itchy rash breaks out. The diagnosis is allergenic dermatitis caused by our very own native, poison ivy, Toxicodendron radicans, a fate suffered by many of us. To add insult to injury, you don't recall seeing it. And, when you go back to look for it, you most likely can't find it. Quite the clever plant! This innocuous plant can be found nestling under shrubs, co-mingling with the ground cover, or climbing high overhead; it's an inveterate masquerader and thus easily overlooked. Botanically, poison ivy is a deciduous woody vine that can grow to a lofty 50 feet, but if there is no support it will happily scramble over the ground. It can also become shrubby, a form most often found along our coastal beaches, as it's salt tolerant. But regardless of its form, the branching habit is always distinctively horizontal. The compound glossy green foliage is, unusually for a vine, comprised of three leaflets; the middle leaflet has a long stalk while the two side leaflets have very short stalks and the space between them is reddish. All are approximately two to three inches and can be smooth, lobed, or serrated. This characteristic of differently shaped leaves is called "polymorphism." The old adage "leaves of three, let them be" is good to heed, as poison ivy always has three leaflets. The young spring growth has a reddish tinge with greenish yellow flowers appearing mid-spring, followed in the fall by, only on female plants, clusters of whitish berries. Another distinguish- Poison Ivy D E E P S P A C E D A V E / D R E A M S T I M E . C O M gardening in bloom greenhouse flower beds flora horticulture shrubbery Beware the Masquerader R U T H F U R M A N writer the green scene

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