No one is ever thrilled to encounter poison ivy, the three-leaved plant that grows throughout the U.S. and harbors the oily resin urushiol, which causes a stubborn rash. But what if you had so much poison ivy that you could claim a world record?
You’d still break out in a horrible skin reaction, but apparently it would be worth it. That’s according to Robert Fedrock, of Paris, Ontario, Canada, who discovered a 68-foot-long poison ivy plant on his property that’s recently been given Guinness World Record recognition.
Fedrock first spotted the plant when he noticed that a vine nearly 6 inches in diameter was growing around a tree. He began digging around the tree for a better view. Because the urushiol is a persistent irritant, and because the poison ivy leaves were everywhere, the project caused him to develop a rash over most of his upper body.
“I was hoping to avoid it, but some hazards are inescapable, and the cause was worthy,” Fedrock said.
After determining the vine was indeed poison ivy, Fedrock contacted Guinness, which confirmed he held the record. The incredible length exceeds the typical 1-foot to 4-foot growth of the plant.
Fedrock seems amused at the scale of the vine, which certainly stokes fear among anyone who might come near it. “I also enjoy the reaction when I point out to people that this great big hairy vine is poison ivy,” he said. “No one has that in mind when they think of poison ivy, and most people are scared to death of a tiny plant with just a few leaves they see on the forest floor.”