2020 just won’t quit.

By Meghan Overdeep
August 21, 2020
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Here’s another one for your 2020 Bingo cards: super poison ivy.

That’s right. Because this year hasn’t been terrible enough already, experts are warning that the poisonous plant is becoming “bigger, stronger, and faster growing.”

"It became significantly more poisonous," Dr. Jacqueline Mohan, an ecology professor at the University of Georgia, told WVLT. “It’s a real double whammy. More abundant, bigger, and nastier.”

According to Mohan, increasing carbon dioxide levels due to climate change have caused not only accelerated growth, but the plant’s allergenic oil, urushiol, to have “more of the itchy stuff in it.”

Great.

New research published by Climate Central found that poison ivy leaf surfaces have doubled in size today, as compared to poison ivy plants in the 1950s. That’s because carbon dioxide essentially works as fertilizer.

“Every year the CO2 level goes up higher than it was the year before,” Mohan explained. While canopy trees grew about 25% faster on average, poison ivy grew 149% faster than in past decades.

“That’s scary fast,” Mohan noted. “And that’s the average over six continuous years.”

And it’s going to keep getting worse. As carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to increase, poison ivy will continue to grow bigger, angrier, and more toxic.

“While many species struggle to adapt, some (often troublesome ones like pests and weeds) find a way to thrive and overall biodiversity suffers,” Climate Central explains.

Yikes. Be careful what you rub against out there!