Get to Know The Relatives of Poison Ivy

Posted on January 4, 2024 at 12:33 PM by Tom Swegle

A pile of cracked pistachios.

We’re all familiar with poison ivy, but did you know it’s related to several common foods? Read on to learn about these less-harmful relatives.

The Anacardiaceae Family

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac all belong to a family of trees called the Anacardiaceae family. This family of trees also includes cashews, pistachios, and mangos.

Will I Have a Reaction to These Plants?

For most people, the answer is no. However, this may not be the case for people who are particularly sensitive to urushiol.  Urushiol is the compound in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac that causes a reaction. People who are very sensitive to urushiol may also have a reaction if they come into contact with the foods listed above.

While urushiol is present in every part of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, it’s only found in the shells of cashews and pistachios and the rind of some mangos. This is why you won’t find cashews or pistachios with shells in the supermarket- the parts that contain urushiol have already been removed. Pistachios that appear to be sold with their shells aren’t dangerous; this is the inner shell, which doesn’t contain urushiol like the outer shell. The amount of urushiol present in mango rind is very minimal and isn’t usually enough to cause a reaction unless you’re extremely sensitive.

Knowledge is Power

Even though most people don’t react to the commonly consumed members of the Anacardiaceae family, you can protect yourself from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac in all its forms with Outdoor Joe’s®.