How to Recognize Poison Ivy
How to Identify Poison Ivy. The leaves of poison ivy grow in groups of three.
The leaves of poison ivy are pointed at the end.
Generally, poison ivy is green in spring but takes on an orange-reddish colour during the autumn.
Poisonous ivy grows both as climbing and as a bush.
From the flowers of poison ivy bunches of white berries are born that survive during the winter.
Read this guide to learn more about the points just listed.
Identify the characteristics of plants
1) Look for the plant.
It is recognized by the leaves that grow in groups of three, but be careful because the ivy can develop in the form of climbing, both in bushes, both in the form of a single plant. You can find Ivy and poisonous oak everywhere – in the woods, in the fields, in your own garden, in an abandoned place, it all depends on where you live. In particular, it seems that these plants love to grow on fences and stone walls, on the edge of woods and in sunny fields.
If it develops on the rock, ivy tends to take over the rest of the vegetation. If born near a tree or a fence, it climbs all around creating a dense mass through which you can not pass.
2) Learn some rhymes to immediately recognize the ivy:
“Three leaves on the finish, leave them alone!” or “One, two, three, leave it where it is!” These phrases refer to the fact that the ivy has three leaves at the end of the long stem. Other features that identify it are:
An alternate arrangement of the pointed leaves and the stem which ends with three leaflets.
The leaves are large and the two sides of the tip are smaller than the central one.
The central leaf, usually (almost always), has a small stem, while the two lateral ones grow directly from the plant and do not have any stem.
The leaves, seen from above, have a glossy green colour. From below, they appear clearer and nuanced. In spring they are bright green, when they fall they turn red (poison ivy), light red or orange (poisonous oak).
Although the leaves are often bright, they are not always. So do not rely only on their shine to identify this plant, especially if it has rained recently.
“Hairy ivy, always suspicious”.
“Long central stem, they can hurt you”. The central leaf has a long stem and the two on the sides are not.
The poison ivy grown on the trees looks like a ragged fur.
It has white berries.
The new leaves are sometimes red in spring. In summer they turn green while in autumn they can be reddish-orange.
The two lateral leaflets on the tip have a small cut which makes them look like a “flask” ( attention: not only the leaves cause itchiness, but also the other parts of poison ivy).
3) Check the fruits.
If the plant has some berries, they have these characteristics:
Translucent for both plants.
The berries of poisonous oak have a fuzz.
Poisonous ivy berries are white or cream-coloured.
The fruits remain on the plant throughout the winter and spring.
4) Be careful,
when the berries of both plants change colour, they are still harmful. Even if the colour changes, urushiol oil is still present in the leaves.
Locate the Ivy and the Poison Oak
5) Check the vines before touching them, rub them or walk through them.
As it grows like a creeper, poison ivy winds along the trees. When it develops in this way there are hundreds of small poisonous ivy seedlings sprouting from the “mother” plant. Always check the type of plant before approaching it.
6) Be careful even during the winter.
The poisonous oak makes its leaves fall during the cold months and you can see the bare stem of the hanging creeper. This can also be dangerous. Do not touch any plants you do not know!
Other Things to Watch Out for
7) It is easy to confuse poisonous oak with other plants.
They present the same groups of three leaflets but they are not the same. They may have spines on the tip (such as holly or Mahonia) or on the stems (such as blackberry brambles).
If you see a plant with all these characteristics but has sharp tips on the edges, it is probably not poison ivy. Poison ivy has spikes arranged more randomly and with rounded edges.
8) Do not consider the ability of other animals to eat plants as an indicator of non-toxicity to humans.
Ivy is not toxic to all animals. The fallow deer and other animals eat it. Do not be so stupid as to think that a plant is safe because you’ve seen other animals eat it.
.) Go home and carefully wash all exposed skin after an excursion. Wash your hands before touching yourself in other places. Use warm water and soap. Normal soap is not good. You must use the liquid dish detergent as a degreaser, apply it diluted and rinse to remove all poison ivy oil residues.
.) Changed shoes/boots that have been in contact with ivy. The oil stays on the laces and you could get infected again.
.) Check the dogs when you carry them around without a leash. Men are not the only ones who are allergic to poison ivy oil, and you may not know where your dog was hit – check it on your abdomen. Also, be careful, as your dog may still have traces of oil on the fur. Wash it if you think it came into contact with ivy. To prevent any future problems, keep the dog on a leash when you’re in the woods and in an area with climbers, among other things you should still do it in public areas for the respect of the other walkers!
.) It teaches children not to touch plants that they do not know, it’s part of living nature. This is particularly useful in winter when the plants have no leaves to recognize them from.
.) You can define yourself and have bad reactions even from stray cats.