En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 19, 2007

From: Clinton, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Medicinal Plants
Title: Comptonia peregrina tea as topical treatment for poison ivy
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have been told that Sweet Fern stewed into a tea is a great topical treatment for poision ivy. Is this true?

ANSWER:

Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern) looks a bit like a fern, but it isn't really a fern. It is a member of the Bayberry Family (Family Myricaceae).

According to the University of Michicgan-Dearborn Native American Ethnobotany database an infusion of the leaves of Comptonia peregrina has been used by several native American tribes (e.g., Delawares, Algonquians, Mohegans) to treat poison ivy. Sweet fern has also had other medicinal applications—headaches, fever, round worms, blood purifier, inflamation and more.


Comptonia peregrina

 

 

More Medicinal Plants Questions

Sharing Selfheal with Texas Friends
April 25, 2013 - I have discovered selfheal plants in my yard. When and how do I collect the seeds or do I just dig up plants to share with friends? I understand this is actually an herb. I love identifying wildflower...
view the full question and answer

How to grow Blue Cohosh in Lewisville TX
May 05, 2010 - I bought Blue Cohosh seeds from an online website, but I do not know how or where to plant them and what will guarantee germination, and the instructions that came with the package are very vague. The...
view the full question and answer

Medicinal plants in North Texas
August 02, 2009 - Hi, I would appreciate some sort of list for medicinal plants in North Tx. I'm a photographer wanting to photograph this type of plant life. Thanks!!
view the full question and answer

Shrub with thorns, black fruit and citrus fragrance in Michigan
September 19, 2014 - I'm not sure that my plant is a native, but I'm hoping to find some answer. There is a small patch of roadside shrubs on my property which I've been unable to identify. They have simple opposite ...
view the full question and answer

Dog eats Celtis laevigata, sugar hackberry
May 21, 2012 - This is an odd question but I am a biologist and have for years notice an odd behavior in my Golden Retriever. When he gets stomach distress or something makes him nervous like an incoming thunderstor...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center