What a Lovely Plant! Is It?

For years I have been trying to learn the flora of the SW desert. I have pretty much given up unless it is the beautiful saguaro cactus or a few wildflowers. My energies to learn anything has been with the birds and about birds.

Recently I was in the “sky island” area of Mount Lemmon, north of Tucson. I purposely walked up a steep neighborhood road and when back down I decided to walk a path parallel to the main town road. All of a sudden I was saying to myself, what a lovely green healthy-looking plant, especially as it was among dried grasses.

Lovely plant!

As I moved closer to it, I realized this plant looked vaguely familiar! Oh yes, I believe this is western poison ivy, until one of my fellow naturalists tells me differently! So lush and and as a low-growing shrub at the side of this walking path, unlike the poison ivy I recognized in the east as a vine. I wondered how many people will identify and keep away from it since this plant does grow in this area.

In reading about western poison ivy, I learned with increased greenhouse gases this plant will grow faster. This is not good news for us humans since the plant would grow faster and produce more urushiol, the oily mixture which causes some of us an awful allergic skin rash. If our world does get warmer in the future, as predicted, more of this plant will be here. (Always a good idea to wear long pants when in the woods.)

I am providing a closer look at this plant so you can decide for yourself if it is western poison ivy. So far my apps are stating it is, but I will keep an eye on this plant next year and also look for its flowers, etc to know for sure since no doubt it will be there next year!

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