Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Information Center

Is This Poison Ivy?

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Submitted by:  Clayton
Date Submitted: 6/25/2003
Location: not given

Question Asked: I have a few vines, plants that I don't know what they are and don't know where else to turn. I hope you people can help.

Answer: Hi Clayton -

I'll apologize now for my short explanations now - I'm way behind on plant id's on this site and am rushing to get through them all.

First picture - certainly does look like some sort of sumac. I don't know where in the country you are located so it makes positive id difficult. I can tell you though that it is not poison sumac. If you look closely at the leaflets, you'll see that the margins (edges) are toothed (jagged). Poison sumac leaflets have completely smooth margins. Underneath this plant on the ground is something that looks suspicious but without a closer picture, I can't say for sure. I think I see some poison ivy possibly peeking out but don't know.

Second picture - sorry I don't know what this plant is and without more context (is it a vine, shrub, tree?) its very difficult to id. I can say for sure though that it is not poison ivy, oak or sumac.

Third, fourth and fifth pictures - Yup. That's a lovely crop of poison ivy you have there. So I have some sense of where you are located due to the range of poison ivy. The fourth picture of the plant with reddish leaves also is poison ivy in it's young form. It doesn't always start out reddish though this is a common characteristic. The third picture shows us so many of the common characterisitics of poison ivy. I'll list a few here:

  • Alternating leaves with 3 leaflets per leaf
  • Middle leaflet on longer stem and generally with a point
  • Irregular teeth and / or lobes on the leaflets
  • Vining habit (going up that tree)
  • Axilliary flowers (coming from that point where the leaf grows from the vine)
  • Yellowish small, simple flowers
  • Aerial rootlets which help the vine to cling
I'm guessing based on the flowers and leaflet colors that you are located in an upper state - perhaps Michigan, New York, or New England state like Maine?