strange like that

What Does Poison Ivy Eat?

Poison IvyAs a Poison Ivy enthusiast and cosplayer, I’ve been getting asked more and more about what Poison Ivy actually eats. (Yes, we nerds still question and debate these sorts of topics.) I have to admit, the question has been rolling around in the back of my mind for a while now and I felt it was time to present my position.

To my knowledge, we haven’t really seen Poison Ivy eat in the comics. I know in an episode of “Batman: The Animated Series”, Ivy (as Pamela) goes on a dinner date with Harvey Dent (pre-Two Face), but I don’t recall her actually eating anything. Not to mention that in this particular season of the series she’s seen as being human rather than a plant hybrid.

I also know that in some of her portrayals, where she’s become more plant than human, that sun deprivation weakens her and has occasionally brought her to the brink of death. I would assume being cut off from water would have a similar effect. However, while sun and water are a part of what would be considered eating for plants (in addition to taking nutrients from the ground), neither of these things is really considered “eating” by human standards. And, as noted before, Poison Ivy is not always portrayed as being entirely plant or human and could possibly have the needs of both.

My gut answer to the above question of what she eats is that Poison Ivy would be a vegan for a number of reasons. For one, while plants are her priority, I can’t imagine her willingness to eat slaughtered animals, or even any byproducts such as eggs or milk. Second, as an eco-terrorist, I would think she’d be aware of how much land is taken up for animal farming and grazing and that swaths of rainforest have been chopped down for that very same purpose.

A point often brought up when I’ve leaned towards this reasoning, is whether or not her veganism would be considered cannibalism. It’s a valid argument, and I can see the logic in that, but I don’t think it works with the realities of the plant world. Plants can often steal what they need from other plants. Anyone who has watched the “Planet Earth” documentary should remember how the plants in the rainforest are in a constant battle for resources and work to reach skyward in search of vital sunlight. Plants can also benefit from the death of their fellows by absorbing them as they decay. It’s really a basic matter of the circle of life. (Cue singing animals.) I should think Ivy, who was a botanist/botanical biochemist prior to her transformation, would understand these realities better than anyone. There is a balance and a cycle to nature that she respects, and her anger and criminal activities are largely due to her perception that this balance is being tipped unfairly by human interference.

I think it could also be argued that in many instances eating plant-based items doesn’t actually result in the death of the plant. As an example, let’s look at apples. They grow from the trees, picking them doesn’t kill the actual tree, and they were destined to fall off at some point anyway. Even if they do fall off from natural causes and their seeds are properly fertilized, you are left with another tree vying for resources that will possibly steal them from its own parent.

With all this in mind, I’d like to know what others think. It’s possible that I’ve overlooked something in the many comics I’ve read over the years, but I don’t think they’ve ever given a firm answer. Then, once we have this settled, I suppose we can move on to whether or not she breathes oxygen solely or also takes in carbon dioxide.

Just kidding.

(Not really.)

For those interested, you can read more of my ramblings on Poison Ivy here and here at ComicAttack.net.

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5 Responses to “What Does Poison Ivy Eat?”

  1. Dionyserious says:

    I was just thinking this (hence the google search that led me here), and your theory makes wonderful sense. Personally, I love the image of Poison Ivy tearing into a bloody steak to get all the important amino acids her plant/animal body needs.

    Note: My Batman knowledge (and DC, for that matter) lacks great depth, so I may not truly appreciate the nuances in her character enough.

    Looking forward to reading your other Poison Ivy posts!

  2. Daemithus says:

    Poison Ivy as a hybrid, I would see her needing some kind of protien intake, then again, there are things like soy, nuts, beans, and other legumes. Then there are other thoughts. If she’s a plant hybrid, how many plants wuld she immitate, or have the capabilities of? Granted her name gives the idea that she’s only fashioned after the itchy leaf, if she’s fighting for all plant life, wouldn’t it make sense that perhaps she can react the way of the Venus Fly trap and it’s vegitative cousins? Perhaps she can eat animals and plants, or perhaps she can absorb nutrients through the plants she controls.

    Considering DC follows under realism and fantasy going hand-in-hand, which is why Batman works so well as a superhero [ideal that anyone can be him if they had the money and tech] then in a crossbreed of perceptive outlook, perhaps she has a symbiosis to her plants, or vice versa? Though I have to agree with the previous commentator. Seeing her tear into a juicy steak would be interesting. For me? I seem a more realistic side would be her eating a roast beef sandwich while sunbathing.

  3. Han-pan says:

    I totally remember another episode of B:TAS when she first brought Harley home…she made them both salads. Harley made a Joker face out of hers. If I recall correctly, which I will check when I get home, Ivy was eating her own plate then.

  4. Macabri says:

    Han-pan – I’d heard the same thing as well, but don’t recall if you actually see her eat it or not.

  5. Rain says:

    I agree with Daemithus’s comment of her possibly being more like a Venus Fly trap and such with taking in animal proteins. Also with thinking of the palnts taking in the fallen that die, that applies with animals too. I can see her eating meat, but likely making the extra effort to get it from responsible sources, like the small time farmers that make their money on being able to tell their customers that they take special care in raising and killing the animals responsibly.

    Also in comics they have stated that she breathes in carbon dioxide and out oxygen. They used that against her to insure that she wouldn’t harm her roommate (Harley) when they doubled up her cell.

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