Poison oak honey

In some areas around where I live there is a lot of poison oak. It is one of the hardiest, most well-adapted plants to this area. Sometimes on an otherwise barren hill there will be no other plants growing except for some poison oak tenaciously clinging to the soil and rock.

One thing about poison oak is that it tends to look very similar to blackberry which grows in similar habitats. So for an avid berry-picker like me that can be dangerous.

Unfortunately I’ve had a few very serious cases of poison oak skin poisoning over the years which required medication. I am a wanderer and was naive about poison oak and only after having had it all over my arms and legs did I come to fully appreciate it and watch for it. Once you’ve been poisoned by it you will learn pretty quickly how to identify it.

Yesterday I was at the farmers market and the honey vendor actually had poison oak honey. I just thought that was so cool. I decided to get a jar to try it. It’s a deep-colored honey and kind of like molasses but not as bitter. It has a very unique flavor.

It just amazes me that the flowers from this toxic plant can produce sweet honey.



I went back and spoke with the honey vendor.  After reading about poison oak honey online, some people claim that what many vendors sell as poison oak honey is actually blackberry honey since both plants can be found in similar habitats.  Also, after reading that, I do notice that the poison oak honey has a slight berry taste to it.

I asked her about it and she affirmed that this honey is definitely 100% poison oak.  She said the honey is from plants on her land and that there is only poison oak, no blackberry there.


INTERESTING FACT: I was just reading about the Toxicodendron genus and in Japan traditional candles were made from a waxy byproduct of the manufacture of lacquer from a Toxicodendron species.  I love the idea of candles being made purely from plant products.  The wax is not actually a wax but fatty compound which burns smokeless.