Greener Does Not Mean Safer: Poison Oak

poisonoak I’ve blogged about poison oak before but there is something I’d like to mention while it’s still fresh on my mind. So to speak.


Some people are under the mistaken notion that you won’t get a rash from poison oak until the leaves have turned red. Let me tell you today, it ain’t so.

Urushiol, the oil that causes allergic reaction to poison oak, is produced in all parts of the plant at all times in the life cycle. The oil can remain active even after the plant is dead.

In its green phase poison oak may be less oily than during the red phase, but you can still get a rash. You can even pick up the oils in the middle of a rainstorm. I’ve got the rash to prove it.

One other thing to watch for…bare sticks in the winter time. If you’re in a poison oak habitat be aware that bare sticks and twigs can be poison oak that hasn’t sent out new leaves.