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Is This Poison Ivy?

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Submitted by:  Pascale Seidl
Date Submitted: 6/25/2003
Location: Newport News, VA

Question Asked: Bought a new home and after clearing a big part of the backyard I came down with a rash on my arms. Plants were growing all over a chainlink fence, the side and roof of the shed and in trees. Went back after first clearing to take pictures of what was left and found these. There seems to be a lot more Virginia Creeper than Poison Ivy so I think I am just sensitive to both. I have also two pictures of other vines that are growing there but was not able to identify them. Dies someone know what they are? These were all found in my backyard in Newport News Virginia. P.S. Thanks to your webpage I was able to identify Poison Ivy and Virginia Creeper.

on the last picture: This is what the backyard looked like before we cleared some out.

Answer: Hi Pascale -

I'm trying to keep my responses short so that I can catch up. We'll see :-)

First picture - english ivy and poison ivy. The english ivy is in the upper edges and along the upper left side of the picture. This plant is invasive and for some folks can cause dermatitis (rash). The poison ivy of course is the 3 leaflet plant in the middle and right of the picture.

Second picture - a healthy dose of virginia creeper with some honeysuckle mixed in. The virginia creeper is the 5 leaflet per leaf vine on the fence. The honeysuckly has simple single leaves paired (opposite) on the vine. It is a twining vine and will wrap itself around its "host". Honeysuckle can be invasive. Oh and look what's on the right side of this picture - mulberry. Those irregular leaves (sometimes lobed on both sides, sometimes only on one side, sometimes not at all). Some folks like its fruit - I just find it popping up everywhere in my yard.

Third picture - I can't see enough of the plant to tell if it is a vine or shrub. I would normally take more time in the identification but unfortunately am too far behind. Hopefully someone else will chime in here with a plant id. If it's a vine, it could be wild grape.

Fourth picture - I've put in arrows to point out 2 of the different ways that vines can cling to structures, plants, etc. The blue arrow points to aerial rootlets. Poison ivy uses this method. The red arrow points to tendrils - wild grape uses this method. There are no leaves in this picture for the woody vine with the aerial rootlets but I wouldn't be surprised if that is a poison ivy vine.

Fifth picture - more of the same little of this and that. I see mulberry and virginia creeper. Boy what a mess of a yard you had there, Pascale. I'm sure it scared off more than one prospective buyer - good for you that you weren't intimidated by the overgrowth!