Spotting Poison Ivy

NPR had a recent story about the many forms poison ivy can take. It's not just the leaves that can be a problem, and the plant is not just on the ground. The article also discusses how to respond if you may have had contact.

Blueberry's picture

In trying to teach young children about PI tell them if it has 3 leaves do not touch. In the South never use vines in making a fire ie tender bundle. If you look at the leaf of vingrina creeper vs PI they look the same go back to the rule of 3 leaves do not touch. Something member of my tribe learn starting at the age of 2.

But virginia creeper is a 'quinquefolia' five-leaf vine. And its leaves are much 'toothier' than poison ivy. You must be thinking of poison sumac, maybe?

Blueberry's picture

In the mind of a 2 year old they are the same.

ClareBroommaker's picture

It astounds me how unaccustomed to seeing difference among plants even adults can be. That said, I recall that even as a teen there was a small box elder tree along a path in someone elses' old field that I regularly used as a shortcut. I was careful of that box elder because I'd always been told that there is Poison Oak in addition to the poison ivy that I already knew. They said it grew as a tree, even though no one ever pointed out a poison oak tree to me. When I saw the small box elder, I thought perhaps it might be the rumored poison oak, so walked well around it.

Check out images of box elder tree if you want to understand my confusion.

(Ah, childhood memories!....That field also had a grove of small oak trees that my siblings and I called "Shady Rest," a pleasant place to pause during our comings and goings.)

Wow! If the images of box elder that googled to the top are accurate, I too would avoid them, even to this day! At that size, barely off the ground, I would take it for poison ivy any time of the week.