Plant Series: Can You Identify Poison Ivy?

Evade & Survive

Most people who have ever ventured outdoors have come in contact with Poison Ivy at some point. Getting a Poison Ivy rash is very annoying and potentially dangerous when out in the field.

Poison ivy is a type of allergenic plant in the genus Toxicodendron native to Asia and North America.

Poison Ivy can grow as a small plant, shrub or climbing vine. They are commonly characterized by clusters of leaves, each containing three leaflets.

This is where the old saying of “leaves of three, let it be”. These leaves can vary between an elliptic to egg shape and will have either smooth, lobed, or toothed margins. And the leaf clusters alternate on the stem.

Poison ivy rash is caused by an allergic reaction to an oily resin called urushiol (u-ROO-she-ol). This oily resin is in the leaves, stems and roots of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.


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