Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Information Center

Is This Poison Ivy?

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Submitted by:  jackie
Date Submitted: 6/24/2003
Location: south central Maine

Question Asked: My children are constantly getting a rash that looks like poison ivy they must have either a strong resistance or light exposure because it has yet to spread out of control . I know what poison oak , ivy and sumac rashes look like but the plants are a little tricky your info and pix have been very helpful but I haven't found a good picture of the sumac . I have a plant throughout my landscape that looks alot like the sumac you have described the pictures are attatched. I cannot find poison ivy or oak on the property but i have this stuff is this what is giving my kids the little breakouts??? P.S. I thought i had poison ivy but your pix and info tell me it is blackrasberry , and virginia creeper thanx!!!!

Answer: Hi jackie -

This is a tough one as the plant does in many ways resemble poison sumac but there are just a few key characterisitics that I believe points to it being otherwise. Here are the key traits / characterisitics:

  • Poison sumac thrives in a constantly moist environment such as bogs, swamps, edges of water areas. This area in the picture is pretty dry.
  • Leaflet shape - poison sumac leaflets are more lance-shaped with a defined point. These in the picture are egg-shaped.
A poison ivy rash is actually allergic contact dermatitis. There are a number of plants that can cause a similar allergic reaction.