Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Information Center

Is This Poison Ivy?

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Submitted by:  Shellie
Date Submitted: 6/1/2003
Location: not given

Question Asked: This plant is growing all over the fence and vining up the tree...I was always told that poison Ivy had a red stem, and as you can see, there is red in this plant, but then again, from some of your pictures, I don't see any red,,,,I've had bouts of poison Ivy, oak, and sumac,,,,and I'm not going close to this until I know for sure what it might be...

Answer: Hi Shellie -

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac (along with a number of other plants) have a secondary chemical called urushiol oil. This oil bonds to the skin causing an allergic reaction. So it's really the oil here that is the issue (not so much the type of plant - poison is poison...).

As for this plant, it does not have the characteristics of poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. The leaves are opposite on the vine and the leaflets are whorled (in a circle from the end). Poison ivy doesn't always have red - that is general spring-time growth and generally in the leaflets. The vine itself is woody in appearance. I'm sorry - I don't know what this plant is but it's not one of those 3 I regularly identify.