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Is This Poison Ivy?

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Submitted by:  Ryan
Date Submitted: 5/13/2003
Location: Massachusetts

Question Asked: Is this plant poison ivy? I have a fair amount of it growing in a wooded section of my backyard in Massachusetts.

Answer: Ryan,

Definitely looks like poison ivy to me. I've seen the plants come up like this especially in shady open areas. The tallest I've seen is about 2 feet. In the spring, the new leaves are generally red before growing and getting the summer green color. This is not a hard rule though - I came across a lovely batch nearby where all new growth was green.

The top picture here is excellent as it shows some of the key charactistics to look for including:

  • Wood stem
  • Alternating leaves
  • 3 leaflets on leaf
  • Middle leaflet on longer "stem"
  • Generally egg-shaped leaves
  • Pointed middle leaf
looking at these leaves you see great variety in shape but the basics are still the same.