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Is This Poison Ivy?

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Submitted by:  Bob Waterhouse
Date Submitted: May 7, 2003
Location: not given

Question Asked: My wife loves ivy because it does not die back in the winter. She picked this sprig the other night, it was growing on a tree in a restraunt parking lot. Today I had to take her to the doctor, she started itching the next day but this morning she woke up with swollen eyes and blisters on her face. The flower was pulled up by mistake, is it posion ivy?

Answer: Thanks for the excellent picture, Bob. I'm afraid that what you've shown us here very much looks like poison ivy. Yeah - I'd say it is poison ivy. The vine shows the general characteristics of poison ivy with the 3 leaflet leaves with the middle leaflet being on a longer stem. The vine has "hairy" growth that I mention often (as seen in the second picture here - I cropped out the section so show better detail). The leaves are generally oblong in shape and pointed (I've seen variants but this is most common).

I'm sorry to hear about your wife's reaction to the plant. It's not fun having to deal with the rash especially in sensitive places like the face. Poison ivy is actually a pretty nice looking vine (so I understand the attraction) but has urushiol oil which makes it toxic to most folks.