Bad Plant, Good PlantAugust 8, 2013

While I was hiking along some trails I noticed how this good plant and this bad plant always seem to grow in the same area. So I stopped to draw both of these plants in my sketchbook. The first bad plant is poison ivy and it is identifiable from the three leaves – the leaf in the middle is always symmetrical with three points on the leaf. The middle leaf is flanked by two leaves that both have two points on them. The two flanking leaves look like mirror images of each other. It is the urushiol oil in the leaves and stems that give you the rash.The second good plant is jewelweed and has a very knobby, crunchy, juicy stem when you smash it. The juice from this stem can be applied on your arms and legs to help neutralize the urushiol oil in poison ivy. It can also be used to relieve and itch that you get from a insect bite or stinging nettle. This plant may have beautiful orange or yellow flowers or not. I also apply the juice of the plant to my arms and legs to avoid mosquito bites – it seems to work for me. The interesting thing is that poison ivy and jewelweed often grows in the same area. Jewelweed likes a slightly more wet, swampy soil.