Poison ivy is a type of allergenic plant in the genus Toxicodendron native to Asia and North America. Formerly considered a single species, Toxicodendron radicans, poison ivies are now generally treated as a complex of three separate species: Toxicodendron radicans, Toxicodendron rydbergii, and Toxicodendron orientale. They are well known for causing urushiol-induced contact dermatitis, an itchy, irritating, and sometimes painful rash, in most people who touch it. The rash is caused by urushiol, a clear liquid compound in the plant's sap. They are variable in appearance and habit, and despite its common name, it is not a "true" ivy (Hedera), but rather a member of the cashew and pistachio family (Anacardiaceae). T. radicans is commonly eaten by many animals, and the seeds are consumed by birds, but poison ivy is most often thought of as an unwelcome weed.
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