En Español

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?


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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - November 12, 2008

From: Woodbridge , VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pests, Poisonous Plants
Title: Topical treatment for poison ivy rash
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I would like to know a topical treatment for the poison ivy rash


There are lots of over-the-counter medications and home remedies for treating poison ivy that you can find by Googling "poison ivy remedy".  Mr. Smarty Plants does not have a "silver bullet" remedy but can offer this advice in brief: 

1.  Learn to recognize poison ivy and avoid it. ("Leaves of three; let it be.")

2.  If you inadvertently come into contact with it, thoroughly clean the area with rubbing alcohol and then soap and water.  There are even commercially available neutralizing agents (Google "poison ivy cleanser") that you can carry with you to use in the field if you come in contact with poison ivy.  This will at least reduce the symptoms. 

3.  Read this same advice from wikiHow in more detail.

4.  If you have a severe reaction to poison ivy, see your physician for medication to relieve your symptoms.

Toxicodendron radicans

Toxicodendron radicans

Toxicodendron radicans



More Pests Questions

Pests on Fan Tex Ash
July 30, 2015 - We planted a Fan Tex Ash last year on our property. It's doing very well, but there are a lot of large stink bugs, yellow jackets and red wasps on it daily. We cannot seem to find any information on ...
view the full question and answer

Spots on persimmon tree leaves from Dripping Springs TX
July 10, 2013 - We are in rural Hays County Texas off Hamilton Pool Rd Texas. Large persimmon trees are turning yellow, blackish spots on underside of leaves. What do we do?
view the full question and answer

What's causing holes in trunk of white oak tree in SouthBend IN?
June 10, 2013 - We have a huge White Oak in our backyard that is approx. 130 years old. This evening I became aware that there are several small holes around the trunk that appear to be oozing a dark sappy liquid. ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of pecan trees in Las Vegas NV
October 11, 2009 - In April this year I purchased two 8-foot tall pecan trees in 3-foot square boxes from a local nursery and planted them here in Southern Nevada. I'm sure I dug a large enough hole to provide plenty ...
view the full question and answer

Spots on non-native naval orange trees from Stockton CA
October 20, 2012 - I have two mature Navel Orange trees. One tree has developed spotty chlorophyl depleted areas that were not on the oranges when they were smaller. In addition, the oranges on both trees are smaller ,...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center