Being able to identify poison ivy is probably one of the best survival skills you can have. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, given poison ivy doesn’t necessarily threaten your life, but being able to protect yourself from it is protecting yourself against a very uncomfortable experience that could seriously interfere with your survival efforts. Can you imagine trekking through treacherous wilderness, trying to hunt, fish or gather food, haul water, or set up and break camp with a horrible burning, itching rash all over your body?
Also, if you are in some kind of survival situation, you will probably be more likely to be confined to clothes that might not have been laundered recently and in situations where you will be sweating, which would only further irritate the rash.
So while you might not think of poison-ivy as life-threatening, it might actually end up that way if you have arduous tasks to perform that will keep you alive.
Of course, even if you are just going hiking or camping, poison ivy just sucks and it’s great to know how to identify it so you can avoid it at all costs.
This handy infographic from the fantastic website, The Praire Homestead, breaks down some handy criteria for determining if a plant is poison ivy as well as useful adages to help you memorize the characteristics of the plant (because we don’t always have access to infographics in the wilderness, now do we?)