Pamela Lillian Isley was a young botanist with a brilliant future ahead of her, but thanks to a strange twist of fate, she was transformed into the “Vined Vixen” we’ve all come to know and love. Her roots run quite deep in the mythology of the Caped Crusader, as she was created in 1966 by Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff. Ivy made her first appearance in Batman #181. Although she was conceived of as a love interest for Batman, Ivy has certainly come a long way since then.
Although it took quite a while for her to get a proper origin, Ivy’s creation was inspired by a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Rappaccini's Daughter”. The tale is about a girl who not only becomes resistant to poisons, but also poisonous to others after tending her father’s toxic garden. Ivy has been both villain and antihero, eco criminal and Mother Nature personified.
Sadly, Pamela has had but one live-action movie appearance and while she was portrayed by the excellent Uma Thurman, the role was in the worst Bat-flick ever made, Batman and Robin. Thankfully, she is set to star in the upcoming Gotham City Sirens adaptation. The comic series was conceived of by Harley Quinn creator Paul Dini and artist Guillem March. It follows the adventures of Harley, Ivy, and Catwoman in a Gotham without Bruce Wayne, who was thought lost forever and had been replaced by Dick Grayson.
Posion Ivy’s power set has always been fascinating and writers have gotten increasingly creative in recent years with exactly what the botanical bombshell is capable of.
Here are the 20 Weirdest Details About Poison Ivy's Body.
20 She got her powers through toxic injections
Although Pamela Isley was created in 1966, she wasn’t given a proper origin until 1978. The story contradicted earlier accounts of her real name, instead revealing her to have been born Lillian Rose.
She was a botanist who was poisoned by Marc LeGrande after she helped him steal an ancient artifact - he was afraid that she would implicate him in the crime. However, Crisis on Infinite Earths completely rewrote DC’s history and Ivy was one of many whose origins were updated.
Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley studied botanical biochemistry under Dr. Jason Woodrue, aka the Floronic Man. Enthralled by her professor, Pamela was both romanced and experimented on. She nearly lost her life, but survived. Her fragile psyche wasn’t so luck,y though, and the toxins left her mentally unstable.
19 She is immune to all natural toxins and diseases
Ivy can create toxins and anti-toxins within her own body, leaving her immune to the vast majority of them. Although someone could likely conjure up a poison to work on Pamela specifically, generally speaking, nothing can compare to the toxicity of her own blood.
Any poisons that contain plant-based elements or could have plant-based remedies are completely useless on her.
Ivy is immune to Joker venom and has even found a way to bottle this immunity.
She gave it to Harley Quinn to keep her safe from Mr. J as well. Pamela is capable of creating all manner of toxins that she can use in a variety of ways, from love potions to truth serums.
18 She emits pheromones to ensnare her prey
One of Ivy’s most well known abilities is her power to make men fall deeply and stupidly in love with her. She does this by emitting pheromones that act as a sort of love potion to anyone that she comes in contact with.
Pamela has used her wiles on everyone from Harvey Dent to Batman himself. However, the Caped Crusader is quite strong-willed and has proven to be a very difficult mark.
Ivy has even managed to get Superman under her control, which is basically having access to an all-powerful weapon.
She attempted to get him to take out Batman for her, but thankfully, there was still enough of the Man of Steel left in there to make him pull his punches.
17 She can regulate her body’s toxicity levels
Not only can Poison Ivy create toxins within her body, but she can also regulate how powerful they are. Pamela decides if she wants her poison to be fast-acting or to take effect slowly.
Like most comic characters, how exactly her powers work is often determined by the writer of a particular story. What has remained consistent for quite some time, however, is that Pamela’s abilities are very connected to her moods.
Ivy has the ability to take someone’s life with a single kiss or leave them immobilized with just a touch. The choice she makes is often dependent on how she is feeling at any given moment. Ivy may be mentally unstable at times, but she is also a very empowered character.
16 She can alter her skin tone
Much like her power set is affected by who is writing her story, Ivy’s appearance comes down to the artist who is drawing her. While she has always been a redhead, most often portrayed with green skin, there have been plenty of times that she appeared without it.
It was eventually revealed that Ivy had the ability to alter her pigment and appear as a human woman.
It’s the toxins that discolored her skin and we know that she can adjust her levels of toxicity, so it makes sense that she could alter her appearance if she concentrated. This definitely comes in handy when Pamela wants to blend in with a crowd, since her green hue would give her away in an instant.
15 She needs sunlight to survive
Poison Ivy is more than just a metahuman with plant-based powers. In fact, she has a lot more in common with plants than you might think. Over the years, some writers have portrayed her as more human than hybrid, but others have written her to have more in common with plants than people.
Ivy actually relies on solar energy for survival. Without natural light, she grows weaker.
She doesn't have many vulnerabilities, but keeping her in the dark is one of very few ways her adversaries have to power her down. However, like most plants, she can be revived with sunlight and some water.
After being buried underground, Ivy was presumed lifeless when her body was found. Luckily, Catwoman wasn’t so quick to give up on her friend, tossing her husk into the water and saving her life.
14 She doesn't breathe Oxygen
Another thing Ivy has in common with the plants that she holds so dear is that she doesn’t breathe oxygen like the rest of us. Instead, she breathes carbon dioxide.
As far as her power set, this gives her a significant advantage over her opponents, considering that she could be in a room devoid of oxygen and still survive. Yet another ability that makes her more difficult to eliminate.
Although she is certainly not immune to fire, Ivy is capable of being in close proximity to it without passing out. As her enemies have all discovered in one way or another, Pamela is nothing if not a survivor. She always finds a way to land on her feet.
13 She is super strong
The toxins injected into Poison Ivy not only drove her mad, but also made her super strong. She has roughly three times the strength of a human woman of her size.
Aside from that, she has some fairly impressive hand-to-hand skills. This was not part of her history for quite some time, but living with Catwoman and Harley Quinn has had a significant effect on her battle prowess. They are, after all, two of the best female fighters in Batman’s Rogues Gallery.
Ivy is also far more agile than an average person. Like her namesake, she is quite the climber. Pamela is more durable as well and heals faster than a normal human.
12 Her creepily convenient aging on Gotham
Gotham follows Bruce Wayne’s journey to the cape and cowl, all the while introducing his iconic rogues on their own villains’ journey.
Initially, Ivy was around Bruce’s age. However, all that changed in season 3, when she was grabbed by a villain who could accelerate aging with a touch. Apparently, the decision was made to explore Ivy’s physical appeal, which is a large part of her comic history.
It was a strange choice to swap out young Clare Foley with Maggie Geha - almost twice her age - simply so that she could be better objectified.
Even creepier still, she remained mentally the same age. This whole arc was a a wrong turn for Ivy, who could’ve been a much more three-dimensional character, had she been given a real opportunity to grow up.
11 She can create plant avatars
Another of Ivy’s most well known abilities is chlorokinesis or the power of manipulating plant life. Not only can she grow vine-like appendages when necessary, but she can also create plant avatars to do her fighting for her.
This is one of many reasons that her hand-to-hand combat skills didn’t need to be especially impressive since she often doesn’t have to be in the thick of a fight anyway.
Ivy can alter plant life as she chooses, even controlling several creatures at the same time - whether she is in the same location as them or not.
Regardless of her purposes for creating these avatars, she loves them, as she does all plant life.
10 She likes men and women
Although Ivy was initially created to be a love interest for Batman, she has had relationships with other characters as well. The most notable of these romances was with fellow Bat villain, Harley Quinn.
The two have been teaming up for years both in comics and cartoons. Although it has been hinted at that they were more than friends, such as in the Elseworlds story, “Rockumentary”, it became official a few years ago.
Harley and Ivy definitely bring out the best in each other.
On their own, the two are most often portrayed as straight-up villains, but in recent years, together they have become something more akin to antiheroes. Although it is assumed that Harley will fall for Joker in the upcoming Gotham City Sirens film, Ivy would be a much healthier option.
9 She was modeled after Bettie Page
Poison Ivy was created by Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff, first appearing in Batman #181 in 1966. Her trademark look was taken from famed ‘50s pinup model, Bettie Page. In looking at Pamela’s early appearances, the similarities between her and Page, both in wardrobe and haircut, are quite apparent.
Originally, Ivy even had a southern drawl just like Page, but that was dropped over the years and it was eventually revealed that she was from Seattle, Washington.
Pamela’s haircut has also changed with the times. Her weaponized good looks and distaste for head-to-toe apparel, however, have been a mainstay of the character.
8 She can exhale mind-controlling spores
Ivy has made live-action appearances in both Gotham and Batman and Robin. She has also had her fair share of animated cameos as well, from Batman: The Animated Series to Young Justice. Her power set changes from cartoon to cartoon as well.
In certain stories, Ivy can exhale mind-controlling spores just by blowing a kiss.
At one point in The Batman, she was forced into helping the villainous Lex Luthor take control over the Man of Steel by lacing those spores with Kryptonite dust. It was up to Batman and Robin to free Supes from the trance. The ensuing battle was likely paying homage to the aforementioned fight from Batman #612 during the “Hush” storyline.
7 She can hear and speak through plants
One of Ivy’s most fascinating powers is her ability to use plants as an extension of herself, hearing and even speaking through them. This allows her to spy on her enemies without ever being caught as well as communicate with anyone anywhere in the world so long as they are near plant life. That’s certainly one way to FaceTime!
Ivy has even interrogated Zatanna in her own home by taking control of the sorceress’s decorative plants. She was after the Mistress of Magic in an effort to help out Selina Kyle, who’d had her brain messed with by Zatanna previously.
Ivy may always be looking out for her own best interests, but she has been a good friend to both Harley and Catwoman.
6 She has controlled the entire population
After spending quite a bit of time being written more as an antihero, Pamela returned to her villainous roots in “Everyone Loves Ivy”. She took control of the entire population, save Batman and Catwoman, who had an antidote. This made her more dangerous than ever.
Like her green babies, Ivy could now hear and speak through people as well. Her goal was the same as always: to protect nature. In this case, she hoped to create a world in which people and plants could peacefully coexist.
Ivy didn’t just take over the humans, but the superhumans as well, gaining control over heroes like Superman, Flash and Wonder Woman.
Once again, she hypnotized Supes into attacking Batman, which almost ended the Caped Crusader’s life. However, Pamela had a change of heart and did everything she could to save Bruce.
5 She was married to Clayface
Few Batman stories truly paint Basil Karlo as a sympathetic figure, but Detective Comics vol 2 #15 does just that. Ivy needed a bodyguard and who better to protect her than Clayface?
She didn’t just hire the brute, however. She broke him out of Arkham and convinced him that they were married. Following that, the two went on quite the eco-crime spree across the nation.
When Ivy went missing, Clayface was certain that the Dark Knight had something to do with it. Batman, realizing that Basil had been played, broke the spell by spraying him with a powerful herbicide. The truth of his relationship, or lack thereof, completely broke the poor guy’s heart.
4 She cannot have her own kids
It has been established that Ivy treats her plants as children because she can communicate with them, as well as feel their pain. However, another reason that Pamela treasures her green babies above all else is because she cannot actually give birth to children of her own.
The experiments that left her blood full of toxins also left her barren.
In Batman: The Animated Series, it was stated that her hyper-immune system made it impossible for Ivy to bear children. Although she is unable to have a family naturally, that hasn’t stopped her from trying to create one. Her attempts may not have worked out so far, but she will always have her plants to keep her company.
3 She created her own “sporelings”
Although Ivy cannot naturally have children, she possesses a genius level intellect and discovered a way to create “sporelings.”
In Cycle of Life and Death, by combining plant DNA with human, she “gave birth” to Hazel and Rose.
There was a third hybrid named Thorn and although Pamela did not create that one herself - Thorn was the result of experiments done by the Gotham Botanical Gardens - she chose to raise all three girls as her own. In just thirty-five weeks, they had become young women.
Sadly, the girls could not stay with Ivy forever, eventually heading to parts unknown to live out the remainder of their lives. Pamela was crushed, but knew that they would never be accepted in Gotham.
2 She has a costume with living vines
Over the years, Poison Ivy’s costume has gone through countless iterations, some much cooler than others. Her outfit can look like anything from a leotard to a corset made of leaves. The main requirements seem to be that it is green and doesn’t cover too much of her body.
In recent years, Pamela's costume has sometimes included living vines which certainly come in handy during a fight. Now, not only can she use the plants to fight for her, but can also add some extra limbs to the equation.
The difference is that she is wearing these vines, so whether there is plant life around for her to control or not, Ivy has some extra firepower.
1 She can feel the emotions of nature
Pamela can communicate directly with all plant life, which is what makes her so sympathetic to their cause.
When plants are harmed, Ivy can actually hear them scream.
If plant lives are lost, she feels every single one of them. Ivy thinks of plants as her children and would do anything to protect them.
In many ways, Ivy has become more plant than person over the years, often considering herself a different species altogether. She spends much of her time surrounded by vegetation and seems to prefer that to hanging out with humans.
Her green babies mean more to her than most people, with the exception of perhaps Catwoman and Harley Quinn -- especially the latter.
Do you know any other trivia about Poison Ivy's body? Let us know in the comments!