Black-spot poison ivy: a rare phenomenon

J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2011 Jun;23(6):275-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2011.00615.x. Epub 2011 May 3.


Purpose: To provide an overview of the clinical presentation, diagnosis, management, and treatment with advanced practice nursing implications of black-spot poison ivy phenomenon.

Data sources: Case presentation and comprehensive literature review on black-spot poison ivy.

Conclusions: Black-spot poison ivy is a rare phenomenon and usually poses a diagnostic challenge. It usually presents after exposure to a higher concentration of uroshiol on Toxicodendron plants. Patients present with black-spot deposits on the epidermis with underlying poison ivy dermatitis. The black deposits cannot be washed off the skin and are followed by itchy blisters. They eventually peel off and the skin heals without scarring.

Implications for practice: An understanding of the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, treatment, and management of this rare phenomenon is important for the nurse practitioner (NP) to be able to make an accurate diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment without delay. The NP's recognition and differentiation of it from other skin disorders including melanoma is paramount.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dermatitis, Toxicodendron / diagnosis*
  • Dermatitis, Toxicodendron / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Urticaria / diagnosis*
  • Urticaria / etiology