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Climate change is making poison ivy stronger and itchier

Ed Reschke / Getty Images Poison ivy is a fixture of the landscape in eastern North America and parts of Asia. The noxious, rash-causing weed grows in rocky outcroppings, open fields, and at the edge of forests — it generally loves to take over disturbed areas. It can grow in partial shade and doesn’t give a damn about soil moisture as long as it’s not growing in a desert. The ivy is often identified in its plant form on the ground, but it can grow into a thick and hairy vine that curls around big trees and chokes out other native flora. No one knows why the ubiquitous plant causes an allergic reaction in human beings and some apes. It doesn’t affect any other animals that way, and researchers suspect that its allergenic defense mechanism may have evolved by accident.

If you live in areas where there is a lot of poison ivy, you may have noticed that the plant appears to be thriving lately. The leaves are looking leafier, the vines more prolific. Your poison ivy rash may even feel more itchy. It’s not your imagination. Research shows that the main culprit behind climate change — increased concentrations of […]

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