Human Flower Project

A Chick with Urushiol

Jerry Leiber’s songs were so catchy they made you itch.

image“She comes on like a rose

And everybody knows

She’ll get you in Dutch

You can look but you’d better not touch….” 

Lyricist Jerry Leiber died Monday, age 78, leaving behind indelible pop songs like “Hound Dog” and “On Broadway” – the kind that won’t turn you loose.

A favorite of ours is “Poison Ivy,” sung by the Coasters in 1959. At 6 years old, we found it tremendously witty to compare a nasty girl to the three-leaved weed. Only later did we get it, that the song was about a lady with the clap.

imageJerry Leiber (seated at left) with songwriter Mike Stoller and the Coasters at Atco records.

Leiber and his songwriting partner Mike Stoller started working together while they were still high school students in Los Angeles, which may account for the yearning and wonderfully goofy quality of so many of their tunes. The team also wrote “Love Potion #9,” another song of helpless fellows and a dangerous, irresistible woman.

We wanted to pass along this photo of poison ivy flowers, underappreciated for obvious reasons. The Urushiol in Toxicodendron radicans causes an allergic reaction in about 70% of people. Urushiol is present in a number of other plants, including mangoes and cashew fruit.


Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) in flower; all parts of the plant cause allergic reaction

Photo: Jeffrey Pippen/NC Wildflowers

“She’s pretty as a daisy.

But look out man she’s crazy.

She’ll really do you in

If you let her get under your skin.”

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/24 at 06:42 PM


Leiber & Stoller really knew their poisonous plants.  Seeing how lovely it looks in bloom is an apt floral tribute.  Thanks a bunch (of daisies).

Posted by Jane on 08/26 at 08:30 AM

Dear Jane,

A thrill to hear from you.

The Blue Lantern

is constantly inspired! Where I go to take a break from mediocrity.

Thank you,


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/26 at 10:34 AM

Nice post about such a simple positive force and some familiar tunes.  I even learned something.  thanks.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/26 at 03:00 PM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.