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Sara MccabeToxicodendron radicans; Poison Ivy COLLAPSE

Poison ivy is a commonly known plant across the world. It’s name is given for good reason, as the active component urushiol is extremely dangerous to humans (Mohan & other authors, 2006). Urushiol is a type of sap that is produced in poisionous plants of the family Anacardiaceae, especially Toxicodendron. This sap is effective through contact to the skin, where many people contract contact dermatitis. Although poison ivy is not deadly, it is harmful to humans because of the rash that follows. Depending on the manner and amount of contact between skin and the plant’s sap, the rash can start out small or can begin with a large area of inflammation. As days pass, the contact dermatitis can go from a small itchy area of bumps to a large liquid filled boil that causes great discomfort. With modern medicine, it is simple to go to a physician and recieve a treatment. 

However, prior to modern technology plants were the source of many medicial remedies. The first written document of poisionous plants was by John Smith in the 1600’s. At the time of his expedition, he did not fall victim to a major rash. Instead, due to how quickly his symptons went away, he wrote that this plant could potientally be used in medicine. As colonies and humans developed more pronouced areas and technology, the carbon dioxide levels increased. Studies have found that when carbon dioxide is abundant, urushiol becomes more potent (Mohan & other authors, 2006). The future of forests and human interaction is uncertian, but with high levels of CO2 it is predicted that there will be more violent reactions to poisionous plants. 

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Mohan, J., Ziska, L., Schlesinger, W., Thomas, R., Sicher, R., George, K., Clark, J.. (22 April 2006). Biomass and toxicity responses of poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) to elevated atmospheric CO2. PNAS. Retrieved from 

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