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Is This Poison Ivy?

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Submitted by:  Rich
Date Submitted: 6/15/2003
Location: South Florida

Question Asked: I live in South Florida and wonder if this vine is poison ivy. Does poison ivy have to cluster in three? This vine is a tree climber. We live next to a state park and have a variety of plants. My goal is to find out what keeps giving my dog underbelly rashes. We have lots of vines in the yard but most don't look like this one. Oh, and no my dog didn't climb up this tree! Ha Ha... Thanks

Answer: Hi Rich -

That plant I recognize well though I don't recall seeing such a big vine. This is Virginia Creeper. Virginia Creeper has a woody vine just line poison ivy but varies in the leaflet configuration on the vine. As you've noticed this plant has 5 leaflets per leaf (will also sometimes have only 3 or 4 leaflets). The configuration of leaflets is called "palmated" as it resembles the palm of a hand.

So if your dog didn't climb this tree, did he another? ha! ha! Sorry I just had to ask that :-). Being in south Florida there are a large number of invasive and poisonous plants in your area. The plant in your picture shouldn't be an issue. Perhaps you have poison ivy elsewhere? Or oyster plants?