There are more interesting facts that are less widely circulated, and worth knowing.
|This "meadow" is carpeted by poison oak along One Eye Creek Trail near Georgetown, CA.|
by Laura Sheffield
|Poison Oak is the most prevalent shrub in California!|
|That "shrub" growing in front of the tree is poison oak in the Knickerbocker area, at Cool, CA. Compare to the adult off to the right for size!|
By Laura Sheffield
|Taken by Laura Sheffield|
As an angiosperm in the Anacardiaceae family, it is deciduous, dioecious or polygamous. Poison oak has pinnately compound, alternate, trifoliate leaves. They can be rotund to ovate, with margins that are lobate, denticulate, serrulate, or entire, all of which may be present on a single plant. One of its apparent survival skills is to masquerade as other surrounding plants. Leaves are in groups of 3, 5, 7, and some sources say 9. At the tip of the stem is where you find a longer center leaf on a pediole and two leaves at the base of the pediole growing opposite of each other. Poison oak is spread by birds that eat the fruits, and it passage through their digestive tracts actually enables its germination by reducing its period of dormancy once it is deposited by the bird. It is rhizomatous, and can be grown from cuttings of roots or stems (in other words, rototilling won’t get rid of it). Poison oak blooms each spring with little bunches of small greenish white flowers where leaves attach to the stems. Being dioecious, the male plants have 5 stamen, 1 sterile pistil, 5 petals, and 5 sepals. The female has a fertile pistil and reduced sterile stamens. The plant bears fruit that is also whitish green little round berries.
|If you zoom in, the dark lines on the fruit contain the substance people are allergic to.|
Taken by Laura Sheffield in Granite Bay, CA. in late fall.
Most importantly, current research is
Best of all, a bonus is the research that is using poison oak resin with AIDS patients to stimulate T-cell production!
I have a friend who is trying it. He ate leaves for several days while hiking this spring. It took several days of this before he had some strange feeling in the roof of his mouth so he took a break. No reactions of any kind and I will update you when he tries it again. Not saying you should do it...
Removed photos that were not showing up for readers on June 16, 2015