Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Information Center

Is This Poison Ivy?

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Submitted by:  David Floyd
Date Submitted: 7/1/2003
Location: Decatur, IL

Question Asked: I found this growing up the base of a tree, about a foot high, at a campground in Decatur, IL on June 28 03. Someone said it was poison oak, but I wanted to be sure.

Answer: Hi David -

That's definitely poison ivy. First off, poison oak in vine form is found only in the western-most states. Poison oak in shrub form is found in Illinois though it is elusive. Of the two, poison ivy and poison oak, poison ivy is the most variable as to leaflet shape. Poison oak leaflets looks like small white oak leaves. Poison ivy leaflets may be smooth, lobed, toothed or a combination of all of those. The one striking characterisitic here that points to poison ivy is the pointed middle leaflet. Poison oak middle leaflet is more rounded in appearance. That's a lovely little plant you've taken a picture of and left undisturbed it will gladly climb the tree to great heights.