Poison Ivy

Asked July 22, 2013, 7:54 PM EDT

How can I identify poison ivy and poison oak. Do you have pictures that I can see?

Kent County Delaware

1 Response

Good question. Often we find out a how to identify poison ivy and poison oak after a bad experience. Hope this isn't too late.
Poison ivy
– the identifying characteristics of this plant are its solid green, pointed leaves that hang from the stem in groups of three. The middle leaflet is usually larger than the two laterals. It can be found as an erect woody shrub, a trailing shrub running along the ground, or a woody vine. The vine is usually seen growing on trees or other objects for support. The stem can appear fuzzy due to the roots that run along it. The look of poison ivy can change with the seasons. The leaves often have a glossy appearance, especially when young. In the fall they turn a rather attractive yellow and orange. Clusters of white, waxy berries sometimes develop along the stems. These help to identify the plant during its leafless winter stage.
Poison ivy is often confused with Virginia creeper which is a non-poisonous vine. However, Virginia creeper has five leaflets radiating from a single point of attachment. Poison Oak - is similar to poison ivy because the leaves are also clustered in sets of three. One unique feature of poison oak is its lobed leaves, which give it the appearance of an oak leaf. The leaf stems and leaflets have a coating of fine hair. The leaves emerge with a reddish tinge, turn green and usually turn yellow or orange in fall. They can vary in size, but are usually around 6”. The small flowers are white, and the fruit is small, round, and yellowish/ greenish. It’s most often seen in shrub form (up to 3’), but it can also grow as a vine. Bottom line is to remember what we were taught as kids, “Leaves of three, let them be”. http://kentcoopextension.blogspot.com/2009/05/landscape-poison-ivy-pictures.html