Virginia Tech researchers studying poison ivy along Appalachian Trail

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Scientists at Virginia Tech said there may soon be more poison ivy around and it could lead to stronger rashes.

Researchers with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are hiking the Appalachian Trail marking where they see different types of poison ivy using a custom mobile app.

They hope to learn why some strains grow in certain areas and try to develop and antidote to the common rash.

They're also researching a recent theory that came up about the plant.

Associate Professor John Jelesko explained, "Poison Ivy could be, in some ways, auto-domesticating itself to grow better around human habitats. If that's then we need to learn a lot more about this familiar stranger that we're going to find in our own backyard."

"Anybody who's been in their backyard knows, it pops up, you put in a new fence, and the poison ivy pops right up," Assistant Professor David Haak added. "Why? How does it get there? How is that poison ivy different from the poison ivy that would be in the forest, what we would call it's natural habitat."

The researchers plan to map the entire Appalachian Trail now that they've completed their first 100 kilometers.

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