Poison Ivy is an extremely well-known female villain in Gotham City. She is one of the world’s most prominent eco-terrorists as well as one of Batman’s most popular enemies. Dr. Pamela Isley was created over fifty years ago and has made appearances in television shows, animated films, as well as one live-action film, Batman and Robin. She was played by Uma Thurman.
Like all Batman villains, she has a strange, unfortunate origin story, which has changed a few times. The most common backstory involves an experiment gone wrong. She received her plant powers from an experiment by Dr. Woodrue, which also caused her to go a bit insane. She has been in and out of Arkham Asylum ever since.
The femme fatale is known for her red hair, green skin, and intoxicating powers. Her love for the Earth and her disdain for humanity make her a compelling, unique nemesis for the Dark Knight.
While most Batman villains act in selfish, psychotic ways for the sake of evil, Poison Ivy fights for the greater good of plants. She is manipulative, complex, and compelling. Though most fans are familiar with these particular qualities, there are some things you may not know about Poison Ivy.
Here are the 16 Things You Didn't Know About Poison Ivy.
16 She was originally created to be a love interest for Batman
While Ivy is now an independent, powerful eco-terrorist. However, this wasn’t what the original vision of her character was meant to be. She was intended to be a love interest for Bruce Wayne. While she and Batman have certainly had a romantic connection before, Ivy has grown to be much more.
Created in 1966 by by Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff, Poison Ivy first appeared in Batman #181. She didn’t have an origin when she first showed up, she was simply a seductress.
In her original meeting with the Dark Knight, she creates love potions to trap him. She was shown to be completely infatuated with him, and he was attracted to her but reluctant to act on it.
Her popularity continued to grow, however, and they eventually created a backstory for her. Since then, she has become more empowered and complex, standing alone as one of his most dangerous enemies.
Ivy and Bruce do still have some sexual tension, but she is alluring to most of her enemies and cares more about the environment than romance.
15 She was inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “Rappaccini’s Daughter"
While Poison Ivy’s background may seem unique, her origin story was partially inspired by a short story called Rappaccini’s Daughter, which was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Supposedly, the story can be traced back to ancient India.
The story centers on a young girl tending to her father’s garden of poisonous plants. She is often isolated in the garden and develops a loving, intimate relationship with the plants. In the process, she becomes immune to toxins, as well as poisonous to other people.
Much like the daughter in the story, Poison Ivy has an immunity to toxins, poisons, and viruses. She also has biochemical toxins in her body, and she can be deadly to the touch if she wishes. She loves plants much more than she loves humans, and is often isolated around them.
14 She can create plant avatars
Poison Ivy has a wide variety of powers, but in recent years she has even been able to create plant avatars that will do her bidding.
Her ability to control plants and accelerate their growth have extended into the ability to create plant-people. Not only can these humanoid monsters fight for her, she is also able to speak through them as well as hear through them.
She can channel her consciousness into plant-monsters from great distances. As long as there is plant-life around, Ivy can use them to create these avatars.
For example, she once used this power in an interrogation with Zatanna. While Ivy was in a separate location, she grew a plant avatar from the roses inside the hero’s home in order to capture her. This impressive power has only been used in small doses so far.
13 She exudes pheromones that help her control her victims
Poison Ivy has always been a compelling temptress. She’s a true femme fatale, using seduction to further her personal goals and get what she wants. Not only is she physically beautiful, she actually exudes pheromones that attract people to her.
She can secrete various substances that come from plants, including a chemical that causes anyone around her to become full of desire and lust. She uses this secretion as a weapon. She has seduced henchmen to do her bidding, and has confused Batman in their encounters by forcing him to desire her.
Her favorite and most popular way of using this seduction power is with a kiss. The pheromones work on men and women alike, although she’s been known to seduce people relying on beauty alone, rather than any powers.
12 She was a folk singer with Harley Quinn
Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are one of the most beloved pairs in the Batman universe. They are always up to crazy antics and chaotic heists. On one of their adventures, they were both folk singers.
Technically, the series took place outside of the DC canon. DC released an Elseworld line of comics, which was designed to place characters in strange, unique stories. But in this storyline, Harley and Ivy were in a folk duo.
The story was called “Rockumentary.” In this alternate reality, Lex Luthor is a music producer who once had Batman and Superman as clients. He signs Harley and Ivy, and they become rich and famous. It was also heavily implied that the two were lovers. As odd as this short term situation was, it did happen.
11 She was a member of the Suicide Squad
While Poison Ivy didn’t appear in the Suicide Squad movie, she was once a part of the team of super-villains. Harley Quinn is the most recognized female member, but Ivy was on the squad even before she was for a short time in the comics in the 1980’s.
Amanda Waller coerced her into joining the squad and she served on several missions. On one mission, the team was supposed to rescue Count Vertigo from a dictatorship, but Ivy enslaved him for her own means instead. She wanted to rule the dictatorship herself.
With the increasing popularity of Harley and Ivy’s relationship and the news of the Gotham City Sirens, it would be interesting to see the eco-terrorist make an appearance in the Suicide Squad sequel.
10 She is bisexual
Ivy has always been an elusive temptress, attracting both men and women. In recent years, it’s been made clear that she is also attracted to both men and women. While she was originally a love interest for Batman, she is also a love interest for Harley Quinn.
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy have had a close friendship for years, but it’s been made clear that their bond goes beyond just friends. Ivy has always had a soft spot for her and fans have speculated about their romantic tension for years. In the 2015 Harley Quinn comics, Ivy was revealed to be in a romantic relationship with Harley.
The official DC Twitter also confirmed the pair is romantically involved. This has caused quite a stir among fans looking forward to the Gotham City Sirens film. Will Harley hook up with Joker or Ivy?
9 She's been married to Clayface
Ivy has always been able to trick men into doing whatever she wants. She isn’t afraid to use someone to achieve her personal goals. Unfortunately for him, Clayface was once a victim of her manipulation.
In Detective Comics #15, she tricks Clayface into thinking they are married. Her life was threatened and she needed him to act as protection. She uses a plant to essentially drug Clayface and act as a love potion. While he’s in Arkham, she sends him love letters and eventually breaks him out.
Clayface genuinely believed they were in love and was heartbroken when Batman reveals the truth. She never had genuine feelings for him, she just used him as muscle. It’s just further proof that Ivy will do whatever it takes to protect herself.
8 She was modeled after pin-up model Bettie Page
Poison Ivy wasn’t just inspired by the short story Rappaaccini’s Daughter. Creator Robert Kanigher also modeled the character after the popular pin-up model Bettie Page.
Page was famous in the 1950’s. She had short bangs, just like the original drawings of Poison Ivy. She also wore skimpy, revealing clothing, which the DC villainess wore as well. Ivy originally sported a strapless green bathing suit covered in leaves and high heels. Even today, Ivy doesn’t cover herself head to toe.
The original Ivy even had a charming southern drawl like the model. Obviously, the accent didn’t stick, particularly after her origin revealed her to be from Seattle. While the haircut has changed a few times of the years, her provocative outfits and alluring sexuality are still around.
7 She was a part of the Birds of Prey
The Birds of Prey originally included Black Canary and Barbara Gordon, but other super-heroines and even villains have been known to join the group.
In the New 52 relaunch, Black Canary puts together a new team including Katana and Poison Ivy. Due to her questionable past, some of the team members aren’t very accepting of Ivy’s presence and even attack her when she first shows up. She earns their trust, however, when she risks her own life to save them from an explosion.
Later on, of course, Ivy goes back to her untrustworthy ways when she is seen making a shady business deal involving a glowing green substance. She went on to betray the team and blackmail them into helping her with her eco-terrorism. Obviously, she didn’t stay with the Birds of Prey.
6 She owned a flower shop before becoming Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy was not always a villain. Before acquiring her plant powers, botanist Pamela Isley owned a flower shop in Old Gotham while working as an intern for Dr. Jason Woodrue. The shop, called The Baudelaire Flower Shop, is shown in the Batman: Arkham video games.
After Arkham: Asylum, Ivy attempted to reopen the shop and go back to living an ordinary life. She eventually returned to a life of crime after being disgusted by the way the world treats the environment.
The flower shop was abandoned and covered by overgrown plants. The rotting building can be seen in the Arkham City game near the TYGER Vault.
5 Her connection with plants is said to be on par with Swamp Thing's
Swamp Thing is a supernatural creature who has a deep connection all plant life. He has the memories and personality of botanist Alec Holland, who died in a swamp while trying to help plants. His body forms from the greenery around him.
He has direct control over all plant life and his consciousness can travel from plant to plant, so he’s virtually invincible. Swamp Thing has said Ivy possesses a mystical component and has actually called her the “May Queen," which is the personification of spring and summer.
Both characters have a connection to “The Green," which is an elemental force that interlaces all plant life. It has chosen protectors to fight off threats to the Earth. Swamp Thing and Poison Ivy have both been protectors at some point.
4 She was a member of the Injustice Gang of the World
The Injustice Gang of the World is a group of super-villains who oppose the Justice League. Poison Ivy is an original member of the group.
The original gang was formed by the mysterious, masked Libra and worked out of a satellite orbiting the Earth. The group included Ivy, Scarecrow, Chronos, Mirror Master, Shadow-Thief, and the Tattooed Man.
While the group was originally organized to oppose the Justice League, it was later revealed that Libra used them as a cover for one of his schemes. After realizing they had been used, the group disbanded.
Years later, the group of super-villains formed again under the leadership of Lex Luthor. He tried to get the six member team to to destroy the Justice League’s Watchtower, but they failed. The Injustice Gang of the World just doesn’t seem like they are meant to be.
3 She requires solar energy to live
Poison Ivy’s connection to plants goes deeper than just loving them. While she is typically depicted as a part-plant human, in some storylines, she’s so much like a plant that she needs solar energy to survive.
Being away from the sun for too long causes her to grow weaker and has even left her on the brink of death. Clayface once kidnapped her and hid her from the sun to keep her from gaining her strength back.
Not only does she need the sunlight to survive, she also breathes CO2 rather than oxygen, like a plant. Breathing CO2 actually gives her an advantage. Even if there is no oxygen in a room, she’s able to survive. It’s assumed that, also like a plant, she needs to drink water.
2 She is immune to Joker Venom
Poison Ivy is immune to all kinds of toxins because of all the plant-based ones swimming around in her bloodstream. She cannot be affected in any way by poisons or gas, as long as they contain plant remnants.
This includes a resistance to Joker Venom, which is one of the Joker’s favorite methods of murder. He used it in his first ever appearance in Batman #1 and it has been a popular weapon of choice since then.
Ivy is the only villain the venom does not affect naturally, other than the Joker, of course. She was, however, able to gather this immunity for others to have. Ivy has always wanted to protect Harley from the Joker, so she made sure Harley was also immune to the venom.
1 She killed her father with a poison kiss
While she’s had many different backstories over the years, in the New 52 continuity, Pamela kills her own father before becoming Poison Ivy
In this origin, Ivy was born with a skin condition and her abusive father kept her from leaving home. Her father also constantly beat her mother while she was growing up.
To apologize to her mother, he would buy her flowers, showing Pamela how to manipulate people using plants. Eventually, he killed her mother and buried her under the garden in their backyard.
Ivy grew up and began experimenting with plant pheremones in college and began to act more erratically. One day, she confronted her father in jail. She poisoned him by giving him a kiss with untraceable toxins on her lips. The next day, he was found dead in his cell from what they said was “heart failure.”
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Poison Ivy? Let us know in the comment section!