How to Identify Poison Ivy

How to Identify Poison Ivy

Everyone knows about poison ivy and the reputation that it has. The itchy, red rash that springs up is something that a majority of the population has to worry about, because they're not immune to it. However, it can be difficult for some people to decide whether that really is a poison ivy bush (or vine!), or whether it's just another harmless plant. Want to know how to identify poison ivy the easiest way? Try one of these.

The Classic “Leaves of Three”


It's one of the easiest ways to remind yourself on what might constitute poison ivy, and something most people are taught or pick up. “Leaves of three, let it be.” This is a great tool to remind yourself of the most obvious sign that a plant is poison ivy. Poison ivy plants have leaves that always grow in clusters of three, making it easy to spot by simply counting the leaves. Just be sure to count from a distance!

Tips Will Be Pointed


Of course, sometimes it might not be as easy to count the leaves as it would be to get a good look at them. This could be after a windstorm, when leaves have been blown away, or if your dog comes home with one of the leaves stuck to him, and you suspect poison ivy. The tips of poison ivy leaves will always be pointed, while the leaves are normally broad. They may or may not have a noticeable stem.

It Changes Colors


While a lot of plants change color, few make such a vibrant color change as poison ivy bushes or vines. Especially in an evergreen-rich area, where few trees change colors in the fall, it can make it very, very easy to pick out. In the spring, poison ivy will be green. The tops of the leaves will normally look dark green and waxy. The undersides of the leaves will be a lighter green. In the fall, however, look for leaves that have turned orange or red.

It Can Be Bushes or Vines


If you're thinking about poison ivy, you might only be thinking of a bush. Or only thinking of a vine. But, in all actuality, poison ivy comes in both varieties. You're not safe from a bush full of three-leaf clusters, nor are you safe from a vine that turned red come October. Keep an eye out for both kinds, and avoid walking through bushes or touching vines without looking first.

It May Have Berries


This is something that most people don't know: Poison ivy can produce berries. You're most likely to see these in the winter or spring, when the berries are still attached to the plant. The berries found on poison ivy plants, both bushes and vines, are usually white or cream colored. They will almost always be translucent, as well.

Poison ivy is an unwelcome sight for almost everyone. Whether you think you've spotted it around a campsite or in your own backyard, it can be worrisome. With these tips, you'll be able to spot it...and avoid it!

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