A Lovely Thought, But Wrong

poison ivy and jewelweed

I was out for a walk one day and ran into a rather educated nature observer. He was able to identify various tree species that I didn't know of. But then he made an interesting statement that struck me as both very lovely and quite untrue. He said that jewelweed (which is thought to be a natural cure for poison ivy rash) always grows along with poison ivy. And to him, this was an example of the great wisdom of nature: the problem plant and its cure always grow together in a kind of holistic one-ness. Lovely thought, but just plain wrong.

At times you can find both plants growing together, as in the image shown with this post. However, jewelweed ALWAYS grows in wet areas, in the shade, and often on the edge of a wetland. Poison ivy, on the other hand, grows in both wet and very dry areas. Poison ivy is far more adaptable than Jewelweed, growing in direct sun on rocky outcrops, trees, and buildings and all sorts of places where you will never find jewelweed.

To me, this is just another example of wishing that a lovely idea were true based on incomplete data. This is a relatively harmless false belief compared to some of the "just plain wrong" ideas that people love to believe.

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